Is swimming good for arthritis?


Exercise is perhaps one of the most critical need when you are diagnosed with arthritis; it is also beneficial as it helps to reduce your risk of later developing it. The Arthritis Foundation suggests that those suffering from arthritis should perform exercises to stretch and strengthen their muscles, while throwing in some aerobics. Swimming combines exercise with water, which leads to an aerobic workout that keeps stress off the joints. The water can soothe many of the symptoms associated with Arthritis, such as inflammation, pain, stiffness, swelling, redness and decreased range of motion. Swimming has been known to improve the quality of life, decrease disabilities and work the body out thoroughly. You will be put through a wide range of motion, from wide arcs for the arms to lengthening your spine with each stroke. All of which is beneficial to keeping the joints loose and flexible.

1.  It Reduces Stress on The Joints.

Water is known for its buoyancy, it is what keeps us afloat so easily under the water. It keeps the stress levels down due to the fact that the human body becomes lighter when it’s under the water. This allows you to bear less of your own weight while exercising, leading to less damage to the bone structure. The water moves over your body, relaxing you, while you move slowly and surely through it. This equates to a fairly strenuous workout for your body, as water provides roughly 12 times the resistance of air. With less weight on yourself, you will find that your joints move easier and feel better. In the end, you will be able to improve on your range of motion without causing yourself further pain.

2.  Warm Water is Good For Joints.
It is well known that people with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia will receive greater health benefits with aerobic exercises – hydrotherapy. Studies have shown that warm water can be greatly beneficial to the human body, as not only does the warmth relax your body, but it also loosen your stiff joints up. Water-based exercises have been found to improve your ability to use your affected joints, as well as decrease pain that results from osteoarthritis. A good, lengthy soak can be greatly beneficial to the body. However, swimming in warm water can give your body a boost in feeling loose and flexible. You can perform exercises in warm water that will further ease your joint pain, as well as grant you a greater range of motion.

3.  Reduces Risk of Worsening Symptoms.
Swimming can improve your ability to use the affected joints, while making you less likely to further injure yourself. The water eases your body into a more relaxed state that puts less stress on your joints and aching muscles, and focuses more on simply moving through the water. You can work out the kinks and aches in your muscles, as well as reduce the likelihood of relapsing and having repeat arthritic attacks. Water has been known to ease the pain levels associated with arthritis or osteoarthritis, targeting the joints in your ankles, feet, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, waist and knees.

4.  Mental Health Improvements.
Swimming is known to be a mood booster, not only in men but women, too. Those with arthritic conditions can benefit from this boost, as even feeling negatively, stressed or anxious, can result in worse symptoms and heightened pain levels. The water can decrease your level of anxiety, as well as depression through exercise therapy in warm water. With high spirits, you will feel great and enjoy the time spent swimming in the water. You will feel happier, as well as accomplished for the great workout. Everyone feels relatively fantastic after a lengthy workout.

5.  Physical Health Improvements.
Swimming improves your muscular strength and tone due to the movements required to swim through the water. Every movement is a resistance exercise, be it kicking or arm strokes, as you propel yourself through the water. Recent studies have even shown that swimming is a way to improve your bone strength, enhancing the mechanical properties of the bone through the performance of water sports. Using the water’s resistance, you can build your muscle’s strength, in your arms, shoulders and legs, reducing the amount of stress put on your joints.

Overall, swimming is currently one of the healthiest and most popular exercises in the United States. It has been used to encourage elderly people to work out without stressing out their bodies too much, as well as to reduce the likelihood of developing arthritis further down the line by working out treat your joints and keeping them flexible.


  • Sato D, Kaneda K, Wakabayashi H, and Nomura T. 2007. The water exercise improves health-related quality of life of frail elderly people at day service facility. Qual Life Res. 16:1577-85.
  • Rotstein A, Harush M, and Vaisman N. 2008. The effect of water exercise program on bone density of postmenopausal Women. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 48(3):352-9.
Churchill Otieno
Churchill Otieno, holds a degree in Communications and Public Relations. He is an accomplished independent researcher, experienced, professional writer based in Chicago, IL past Mombasa, Kenya. He is an author and publisher for Consumer Health Digest - Joint Pain Center category since 2013. He has an additional credentials in health and lifestyle fitness. He has been writing articles on health for more than two years with interest on bone, joint health, arthritis, osteoarthritis etc. He is also a contributor to and many other popular websites. His mission is to educate, empower and advocate people whose lives have changed due to arthritis joint pain. He also strive to support the families and caregivers as they learn how to advocate and care for the afflicted person.