May is Arthritis Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 46-million American adults have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Other types include gout, lupus and fibromyalgia. Of those diagnosed, 28.3 million of them are women. Sixty-six percent of adults (both men and women) with an arthritis diagnosis are overweight or obese. Statistics also show some good news for women at risk for knee osteoarthritis. A weight loss of as little as 11 pounds can reduce your chances of developing it by 50 percent.
One of the best ways to increase balance, coordination, small motor flexibility and posture improvement is by working out in the water. Water workouts also take added pressure off the bones and joints allowing you to perform your workouts optimally. Water workouts also have significant results for those with complications from arthritis.
One of the best ways to stay one step ahead of your arthritis is by literally walking under water. You can walk in the shallow end of the pool to get started. Be sure to walk with a heel, ball of your foot and then toe stride to get the benefits of working all of your muscles. Make sure to avoid walking only on your tip toes. You can also vary your routine by turning and walking backwards or doing lateral walking and taking wide strides to the side.
If you want to take your exercise routine to the next level, you can then do so by doing some deep-water walking. Deep-water walking is typically done with a flotation belt to keep you upright. Remember, that even though you’re still in the water, posture and core strength are still important. Make sure to keep your shoulders back and down. I like to call it keeping your shoulders in your back pockets.
You can also increase your intensity level by lifting your knees higher, doing a bicycle motion or running with the flotation belt around your waist. I also like to vary my leg movement by doing a jumping jack motion or scissor kicks.
For those hinges and twinges, it may be a good idea to do some strength training in the water. Like the flotation belt, many pool stores and fitness stores sell foam underwater dumbbells and barbells. These are great for working your shoulders, back, biceps, and triceps. You can also use them for balance to do underwater crunches to work your core.
Joanne Sgro is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training. Joanne's fitness plans and recipes are available globally on her website www.fitnessanswer.com. She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her fiancé, where she runs her personal training business, Fitness Answer, LLC.