Be Our Guest Fridays {2}: Aqua Aerobic Exercises for Arthritis Relief by Kaitlin Gardner


Welcome to Be Our Guest Fridays!

Be Our Guest Fridays is a weekly feature hosted by Tanya from Mom’s Small Victories and Helen from My Novel Opinion where we feature guest posts by our favorite bloggers and authors. We started this feature as a fun way to give back to the blogging community. We are excited to share with you these creative, inspiring and knowledgeable bloggers.

My Co-Host Helen from My Novel Opinion

You can find my fabulous co-host Helen on her blog, on Facebook, on G+, and on Twitter. See her blog for more ways you can find Helen.

Today’s Guest Post

Today, we are bringing you a guest post from Kaitlin from An Apple Per Day, a healthy living and fitness blogger. She noticed I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune disease that attacks my joints, and reached out to do a guest post on how aqua aerobics can help those like me who have limited joint mobility and painful joints.

So without further ado, here’s Kaitlin. We hope these exercises help relieve the pain and inflammation, no matter which type of arthritis ails you.



Aqua Aerobic Exercises For Arthritis Relief by Kaitlin Gardner of An Apple Per Day

My Dad came to me after his last visit to the doctor, and said he had arthritis. His doctor recommended exercise to alleviate his symptoms, and suggested that the water was a great option – swimming could be really helpful. My Dad doesn’t like to swim, so he asked me about other water options for dealing with arthritis.

What is arthritis? Arthritis is basically pain and stiffness caused by joints which swell up. I was surprised to learn that in a few years, the estimate is that 67% of the population will deal with it. The factors leading to arthritis are typically a combination of genetic makeup, a demanding job with repetitive movements, a previous injury, obesity or certain types of autoimmune diseases. Here are some links to sites with more great information:

Can The New Wave of Watery Workouts Help Your Arthritis?

Arthritis & Swimming

Aquatic Exercises For Arthritis

How can the water help? Being in the water can be very beneficial for treating arthritis, because a person’s body only has to support a fraction of its own weight. That lightness means that a person with arthritis can concentrate on an exercise, without feeling the pounding of the workout on their aching legs. Since physical therapy is typically suggested to help with arthritis, a water workout could very easily complement that type of work – or even lessen the need for therapy. Just being in warm water can improve circulation – it allows the blood vessels to dilate, which helps swollen joints. The resistance of the water means that a person works their muscles, but in a very gentle environment.

What type of exercise? I took my Dad to our community pool when the lap lanes were open. I wanted to do a workout with him so he could see what we were trying to accomplish. First, we started with a warmup, to loosen up his joints and muscles, by walking up and down one of the lap lanes for a few minutes. I had told him to wear old tennis shoes because the bottom of the pool can be kind of rough.

Focus on the joints. Next, we moved into deeper water, to work specifically on the joints. I had him do each exercise a number of times, stopping when he felt tired.

Shoulders and arms. I had him reach forward as far as he could, then reach to the side, keeping his palms forward. We did arm circles, keeping the arms below the surface of the water. I had him make the circles bigger for a while, then back to smaller circles.

Elbow bends. I had Dad straighten his arms, then bring his thumbs up to his shoulders, bending only the elbow. Then we switched so his palms were facing down, and brought his arms up to his shoulders again.

Ankles and toes. Dad sat on the steps of the pool, and bent his ankles to point his toes down. Then he curled and straightened his toes. Then he moved his foot in a circle to further strengthen his ankles.

The knees and hips. Dad raised one foot and straightened his knee as far as he could comfortably. Then he did the other leg. I had him sit back on the steps, and raise his knee and move his leg out to the side, to exercise his hips. He held this for 3 seconds, then did the other side.

Once my Dad got the idea of how to work on his arthritis issues in the water, he really liked it – he said the lightness of the water made it a gentle way to work out, which meant he was more likely to keep doing it.

About Kaitlin Gardner

Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania. They enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.


As a reluctant exerciser and with much pain in my hands and feet, it’s hard for me to fit exercise into my day. Sometimes it causes more pain than I am already in. However, I have tried some of these types of water exercises this summer. While the kids played, I’d try to tread water, float on my back or walk the length of the pool. It was quite a workout but the water felt great and the pain often floated away.

How do you fit exercise into your day? What types of exercise work well for you, your body and your schedule?


  1. I know a woman who had to quit her job as a flower arranger because of her arthritis and her other job – her other job hair stylist was not a good choice either. She lived for her water aerobics classes. She took them through several different rec clubs – I think at least three times a week. I’m sure I will be taking them some day too when my joints can no longer handle land aerobics. For now having to buy a swim suit and the thought of having to change into it after work does not sound appealing right now.

    1. It is great. I wish I had access to a heated pool in winter when my joint pain is worse. I took my kids to the Y for swim lessons and had to get in with younger one. Even though they claimed it was 84 degrees, ot was really cold. His lips turned blue and I was shaking. Certainly not relaxing or good for my joints. I am not in physical therapy, glad you have access to a pool, hope it’s warm. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Becca.

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