Do you have clients with severe osteoarthritis (OA) who want to improve their strength and function? You may want to encourage them to exercise in the pool, according to a study from the December 2003 issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (vol. 62, pp. 1162-7). This study’s findings indicate that people with OA can exercise at much higher intensities than popularly believed.
Study subjects, who had knee or hip OA, either performed resistance exercises three times a week for 6 weeks in a gym or swimming pool, or did not exercise at all. The results? Walking distance and speed greatly improved in both the land and water groups. Why is this important? Improved walking ability helps clients with OA increase their independence and become stronger, which improves the stability of the affected joints and increases shock absorbency—helping prevent more deterioration. Exercising in the water allows exercisers to move with more intensity than on the land.
For more information on training clients with arthritis, see the CEC article by Johndavid Maes and Len Kravitz, PhD.