Arthritis is inflammation of a joint or joints in the body. It has several root causes, with the two most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If you suffer from arthritis, you may be wondering if a hot tub can help you.
The good news is that using a hot tub can have major benefits for arthritis sufferers. Warm water hydrotherapy can offer decreased pain and increased flexibility. There are a few activities you can do while in your hot tub that will further help you to have relief from the pain of arthritis. Make sure that you consult with your physician on the best course of action to take with your hot tub, such as stretches and exercises to work on.
Benefits of the Hot Tub
Your hot tub provides moist heat, which can help decrease arthritis pain and stiffness. The buoyant action of the water reduces some level of pain and supports your joints as you begin to exercise. In addition, the water provides some resistance to your exercise movements, which will increase your strength over time. It's a great way to get a jumpstart on your day or relax at the end of the night.
The Heat of the Hot Tub
When you're exercising in your hot tub, you need to be prepared for the heat you will encounter. If you get overly warm, you might want to lower the temperature on your hot tub. Make sure to drink plenty of water before getting in the tub, and keep a cup or bottle of ice water nearby to sip.
Begin your exercise routine with a series of stretches to help protect your muscles and joints and increase your flexibility. You'll want to carefully stretch out your whole body before undertaking any exercises.
A few example stretches include:
Stretch for arms by interlacing your fingers and rotating your palms away from your body. Push your arms outward and hold the position for a count of twenty.
Stretch your feet by stretching your legs out towards the wall of the hot tub and carefully place your feet on it. Push off with your toes and hold the position for a count of twenty.
Exercises to Practice
There are a wide variety of exercises that you can do in your hot tub to help improve joint flexibility and decrease the pain from arthritis, all depending on what joints of your body are affected.
Some example exercises include:
Perform arm circles. Extend your arms out to your sides and rotate your shoulders so that you rotate your arms in a circle. After thirty seconds of this exercise, reverse the direction that you are rotating your shoulders.
Perform underwater flutter kicks. In a seated position and with your legs underwater, extend your legs straight out. Kick them one at a time for thirty seconds.
Perform bicycle crunches. In a seated position, extend both of your legs straight out. Bend one leg and bring your knee toward your chest and then straighten it back out. Repeat on the other side. Repeat this move ten times.
Your physician may have other exercises that they suggest you work on while in your hot tub. If a move is too painful for you, don't overstress yourself. Keep in mind that exercising in a hot tub is a lot like exercising in a gym: it can take a lot of careful practice.