So, how do you participate in these three types of exercise without the pain? One way is to do some or all of them in a pool. Water gives your body buoyancy, thereby minimizing damaging stress to your joints.
Why does water prevent pain? Imagine jogging with a body weighing 15 pounds rather than, let's say, 142 pounds. On land, the stress each joint must absorb with every step -- hip, knee, ankle -- is three to five times your bodyweight, or roughly 500 pounds. Fortunately, because the water supports 90 percent of your bodyweight, you can work out without the wear and tear to vulnerable joints.
There are aquatics classes that resemble the ones you have been doing on land. They have invigorating music and instructors who will motivate you just as before. They include the same recommended components -- warm-up, cardiovascular, strength and flexibility. And now there is even water Zumba!
In the water, your workouts will be more efficient because you combine cardiovascular work with strength training. There are also cool pool toys -- equipment that adds diversity and resistance.
Why water is wonderful:
Excess bodyweight is a risk factor for the both the development and progression of osteoarthritis. Carrying extra weight year after year wears away the cartilage that cushions the joints. Once you begin to lose weight, you do your body a favor. For every pound of body weight you lose, your remove 3 pounds of stress from your knees. For every pound you lose, you remove 6 pounds of stress from your hips.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that can be very stressful. This stress causes your body to be tense, which induces pain and makes you feel helpless and can lead to depression. These things compromise your physicality and perpetrate the pain cycle. Once you understand the progression, you can break the pain cycle.
The next step is to determine how much and how often to exercise. If the exercise you are doing causes pain that lasts for more than an hour, it is too intense. Keep in mind, moderate exertion is a general intensity rule of thumb. Recommendations are generally for 30 to 60 minutes of accumulated activity most days of the week. To ensure safety, begin slowly and progress gradually so that the joints and surrounding support structures can adequately adapt.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified coordinator/instructor since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or e-mail cindys...@aol.com. Look for her award-winning fitness advice book, CindySays ... "You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World" at www.cindysays.com or contact her at 304-342-3533.