Exercise of the Month – Warm Water Exercise

Water exercise involves exercising in a pool – usually a heated, warm water pool – and may also be called ‘hydrotherapy’. It is one of the most comfortable and effective ways that a person with arthritis can exercise because the joints and muscles can be exercised while supported in the water.

Are there different pools that I can exercise in?

A hydrotherapy pool is heated to around 34 degrees Celsius, which helps loosen up joints and muscles and keeps you warm while you are exercising. This type of warmer pool is usually more helpful when pain is a significant issue. Hydrotherapy pools are usually found at hospitals, community health rehabilitation centres, some physiotherapy clinics or leisure centre complexes.

What are the benefits of exercising in water?

Water exercise is an excellent way for people with arthritis to build strength, ease stiff joints and relax sore muscles. The buoyancy of the water takes the weight off painful joints. For example, if you stand in chest deep water, your legs only have to support a third of your body weight. This is why many people with arthritis in their feet, knees, back and hips find they are more comfortable and can move more freely in water than they can on land. The heat of the water can also relieve pain and warm up your muscles and joints so they are able to move easily. Water can provide as little or as much resistance as you like. This means exercises can be easily adjusted to suit people with varied strength and mobility. Exercising in water can also improve endurance and fitness.

Who benefits from water exercise?

Water exercise can be beneficial for people with any form of arthritis. It is particularly helpful for people:

  • with arthritis in several joints as all joints can be exercised at once
  • with conditions affecting feet, knees, hips and back
  • preparing for or recovering from joint replacement surgery
  • who find it difficult or painful to exercise on land

For more information about Warm Water Exercise including the type of exercise, swimming skills required and getting started go to our Water Exercise information sheet.

To learn more about our Warm Water Exercise Class Program visit here.