4 tips on swimming for people with arthritis

October 5, 2015

No matter what your age or health, swimming is a delight. It feels good, it's fun and it's a wonderful way to exercise. Here are some tips to make the most of your swim. 

4 tips on swimming for people with arthritis

1. Position yourself

  •  Getting through the water isn't merely a matter of generating power from your arms and legs. Instead, you'll slice surf easier (read: faster) by thinking of the shape your body makes as you move.
  • Example: On a freestyle stroke, stretch your arm as far in front of you as possible after it enters the water (which the total body stretch will help you do) before pulling for power, to make your body longer and less resistant to the water.

2. Don't chop at the water while swimming

  • You're working hard, stirring up the water — but going nowhere. Don't mistake lots of effort for good exercise. You'll improve your efficiency and ultimately get a better cardiovascular workout if you focus on form, slicing your hand into the water on a freestyle stroke about 20 centimetres (eight inches) short of a complete arm extension and rotating your hips as you pull back.

3. Do a variety of strokes

  • To work muscles and joints from as many angles as possible, switch regularly from one stroke to another — freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and sidestroke.

4. Be playful

  • A swimming pool is a wonderful thing — great for your muscles, your joints, your heart and your spirit. So don't make your pool time all hard work.
  • Walking through the water, treading water, bouncing on the bottom, diving for pennies, playing catch with a ball, just floating contentedly on your back — all are wonderful for your body.
  • Even standing still and talking with a friend is better for your health when done in a pool.
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