Swimming and water exercises

Swimming and exercising in water are especially beneficial for people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) . The buoyancy of water supports your body as you move, whilst providing resistance that can improve your muscular strength and aerobic capacity. You can perform range-of-movement exercises whilst standing or sitting in water to help you relax, reduce stress and lift your mood whilst exercising your body.

Top tips:

  • Begin gradually - increase your time in the swimming pool and the intensity of the activity slowly.
  • You can swim or exercise in water alone or in a group or team, adding a social and fun element.
  • Goggles will protect your eyes and there are a number of floatation devices you can use to give you extra support.
  • Discuss suitable water exercises with your physiotherapist and if you have had any surgery, always check with your surgeon or physiotherapist whether you can exercise.
  • Water exercises such as aqua-aerobics and water walking are a great way of improving your cardio fitness. They give you a complete workout to help improve and maintain muscle strength and range of movement.
  • Hydrotherapy is a specialised exercise therapy often used in rehabilitation, given by physiotherapists in specially heated pools.

This is general advice for people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs), but individuals may have specific problems. Always speak to your doctor or physiotherapist before you start a new form of exercise.

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