Arthritis can be incredibly painful and is a condition that may feel like it is restricting your ability to enjoy life. Exercise can help to relieve many of the symptoms of arthritis. Although this may be difficult to do without support, if you have a hot tub it’s much easier to enjoy regular pain relief and help to keep your body moving.
Arthritis and heat
The warmth of the water in a hot tub has a big role to play in arthritis relief – this, combined with exercises, can be incredibly effective. The heat will boost your circulation, increasing blood flow around the body and helping to ease joint flexibility. It can also help to reduce discomfort and increase the speed of rehabilitation from injury. If you’re going to use your hot tub for exercise it’s important to take into account the impact of the warm water – make sure you stay hydrated and stick to 20 minutes maximum session length.
Exercises for arthritis relief
- Stretching. It’s often a good idea to start your session in a hot tub with some stretching to help prepare your body for the exercises you’re about to do. One of the easiest and most effective stretches is to simply interlace your hands while sitting in the hot tub and push your palms away from you to stretch fingers, hands, wrists and elbows. You can stretch your feet, legs and ankles by placing your feet up against the wall of the hot tub and gently pressing.
- Arm circles. Hold your arms out parallel while sitting in the hot tub. Rotate your shoulders so that your arms are making small circles – continue for 30 seconds in one direction and then reverse.
- Parallel arms. Bend your arms at the elbow so that the lower part of the arm is parallel to the bottom of the hot tub and your palms are facing down. Push your hands down through the water until your fingertips point to the bottom of the hot tub and then bring them back to the starting position. Repeat in sets of 15.
- Leg kicks. While seated in the hot tub, stretch your legs out in front of you to as close to straight as possible. Then move one at a time in a kicking motion, as if you were doing backstroke. Keep this going for as long as you can – at least 30 seconds is optimal.
- Simple crunches. Start by sitting in the same position as you were for the leg kicks exercise. Straighten both legs out in front of you and then bend one knee so that the leg is crunching in towards you as far as it will go. Try to use your core to power the leg into the bent position and then back out straight. Do this once on each side for up to 15 repetitions.
A hot tub can make exercising much simpler and more effective, helping you to stay fitter for longer even with a painful condition like arthritis.