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Water Best Place For Arthritis Exercise, Say Doctors

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Doctors used to tell people with achy joints caused from arthritis to take it easy. Now, more and more are telling patients to exercise.

One of the most popular exercises for arthritis aches is water aerobics.

Cindy Boyer has osteoarthritis and said water aerobics has changed her life.

"For 20 years I couldn't move. I couldn't get around," she said.

Getting in the water makes her feel much better.

"I go at least two to three times a week. Last week it was four!" Boyer said.


fitness specialist Bobby Chastain said water is one of the best places for people with arthritis to exercise.

"They work against buoyancy instead of working against gravity on land. It works much better for them not to have all the stress on their joints," said Chastain. "The deeper you are into the water the less stress there is on your joints."

Chastain explained that less stress on joints allows patients to use more muscles. She said the heated water in a water aerobics pool also helps.


The Arthritis Foundation

recommends 86 degrees or above. That is wonderful for the muscles," Chastain said.

In water aerobics classes, swimmers are allowed to move at their own pace and intensity.

Studies show water therapy increases endurance and strength. It also reduces the pain and progression of arthritis.

"They have better balance they can function better in their daily activities," Chastain said.

Boyer said the health benefits keep her going.

"You have to keep going, you can't let it win. You have to keep going," she said.

Biking and walking are also good forms of exercise for people with arthritis.

In February, WakeMed is sponsoring the "Living with Arthritis" self-help course to help people deal with arthritis pain. For more information call (919) 350-8886.


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