April 14, 2009

The continuing cold weather made me think about how hard the cold is on arthritis sufferers.  If you suffer from arthritis, take note that the Arthritis Foundation highly recommends the healing properties of hot tubs for those with the disease.  Because people with arthritis have a very difficult time moving without pain, they tend to stop moving. By being submerged in warm water, some of the discomfort and pain is reduced. They may be able to add an exercise routine and practice with little discomfort if it’s done in a hot tub!

If you do suffer from arthritis and would like to start enjoying a hot tub exercise routine, please check with your doctor before you begin.

When your doctor has given his OK, get in the hot tub and allow your body to warm up for several minutes before starting any exercises.  Resistance and stretching exercises are the most recommended forms for arthritis sufferers.

Take things slowly when exercising in a hot tub for three reasons:

1) One is the possibility of muscle strain if you’re not properly warmed up before starting.

2) Two is the fact that it is possible to over-exert yourself by doing too much or doing it for too long. Listen to your body. If you become lightheaded or dizzy, stop.

3) The third reason to take things slowly happens after you have exercised. After you have worked your muscles, it is important to keep them warm for several minutes before getting out of the hot tub to allow your muscles to relax before hitting the cooler air.

The hot tub has the added benefit of reducing the effects of gravity while you’re in it. The buoyancy helps put less strain on weak muscles. Warm water also causes the blood vessels to dilate, which allows for more blood and oxygen to flow to muscles and skin and the heart. Finally, hot water is a mood elevator. Natural endorphins are released during your hot tub soak. This effect alone can work wonders to alleviate depression that is common among those with arthritis.

So if you are thinking about getting some exercise in a hot tub where your arthritis will be lessened, don’t forget to talk to your doctor first.  A little warm water exercising can put you on the road to better health with less pain.

SANUM PER AQUA.  Latin for Health through Water.