Are you finding that the discomfort and inflammation of arthritis are impacting your day-to-day life? Living with arthritis can be incredibly frustrating. If you are looking to improve your joint health, then swimming can be a fantastic exercise.
This low-impact activity can help to transform your fitness and significantly improve your overall joint health.
What are the benefits of swimming?
Swimming is an incredibly popular activity and is able to provide a huge array of benefits, including:
1) Low impact
When it comes to exercise, swimming is a fantastic option thanks to its very low impact. This means your joint health is boosted, with the water helping to reduce the effect of gravity. This can help to make it much easier to move. Many individuals with arthritis find that they enjoy a much greater range of motion when they are in the water.
Many people will find that regular swimming will also help them to increase their range of motion when outside the water. Joints are far less likely to be stiff after a swim, thanks to the warm water and increased blood flow helping to lubricate your joints.
2) Whole body workout
One of the biggest benefits of swimming is that it can offer far more than just improving your joint health. It is one of the most effective ways to work your entire body from your head to your toes.
Regular swimming can help you to increase your heart rate without placing stress on your body. It can also help you to build strength and endurance while toning your muscles. Changing up your stroke can help to add variety to your workout and allow you to target different muscle groups and joints.
3) Enhance your cardiovascular health
Alongside maximizing your joint health, swimming can also help you to improve your cardiovascular health. Going for a swim several times a week will help to significantly enhance the strength of your heart and lungs.
Thanks to its low impact, swimming is a fantastic exercise for everyone. If you find that your arthritis is preventing you from running, then swimming is a safe and accessible activity for you.
Research has shown that swimming regularly can help to significantly reduce the stiffness and discomfort commonly associated with osteoarthritis. It can also help individuals to increase movement and range in their joints.
5) Burn calories
Being overweight can make your arthritis symptoms significantly more painful and place more pressure on your joint health. Swimming is a great way to burn a lot of calories, with a 160-pound individual burning up to 715 calories an hour. That increases further for those who are more overweight.
This is in comparison to other low-impact activities, with walking burning around 300 calories an hour, an elliptical trainer around 365, and yoga 183.
6) Improve your sleep
Swimming is not only a great way to improve your joint health, but it can also help you to improve your sleep. Not getting enough rest can increase your arthritis symptoms, leaving you feeling more discomfort.
Regularly swimming and conducting aerobic exercises can boost the amount of sleep that you enjoy, with research revealing this, in turn, leading to a far better quality of life.
7) Improve your mood
Swimming can also support you to improve your mood and reduce stress. Regularly getting in the pool and being active has been shown to ease depression and anxiety, which is an increasingly major issue impacting people in the hustle and bustle of modern life.
8) Improved circulation
Your circulation is vital for joint health. Swimming can help you to improve your circulation, ensuring blood can move along the body easier. This is not only a great way to boost your joint health, but it can also support your overall physical health.
As we age, our joints tend to become stiffer, but a robust and high-functioning circulatory system can help your joints to be more supple. When blood is able to flow through your body better, you guarantee that your cells are getting the oxygen and nutrients that they need.
How to start swimming
While there can be no denying the many benefits that come from swimming, it can be tough to know where to start, especially if you are not used to exercising. To help you, we have taken a closer look at some top tips:
1) Keep it simple
If you are not used to swimming, then start off with a simple and easy stroke such as breaststroke. This will help you to ease into the pool and get your body used to swimming. As you become more comfortable with the activity, you can then start to build up your distance and try different strokes.
2) Walk around
If swimming is proving difficult, then try walking around in the water instead. This gentle activity can help you to engage your muscles and joints with ease, helping to ease the discomfort and stiffness that you feel.
3) Submerge yourself
When your body is submerged, the pressure on your joints is reduced, easing the pain and stiffness. That is why you should focus on making sure that your body is submerged as much as possible. This also helps to increase the resistance that you face, strengthening your muscles and joints.
4) Set goals
Setting goals can help you to stay focused and committed to swimming. It can always be hard to remain motivated to exercise, but when you are working towards a specific goal, you will find that you are more likely to be heading to the pool for a swim.
When setting your goals, though, you need to ensure that you are being realistic and that they are achievable.
5) Be consistent
Consistency is crucial in ensuring you can get the maximum benefit from your swimming. That is why you should always try to go the same distance and speed. Committing to a certain time and day each week can also help you to get into a routine.
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