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Cool Pool Tools for Stiff Sore Joints

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The temperature is rising fast. That means summer is upon us. Adults swim! When you're near a pool this summer, jump in, have fun and lighten the load on your joints.


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Dr. Ernest Levister, Jr. F.A.C.P. F.A.C.P.M.
Walking and moving your legs and arms in water allows you to do endurance and range-of-motion exercises without straining sore joints. Foam-based pool tools such as water dumbbells, kickboards and noodles increase the difficulty of a water workout by creating more resistance or can simply work as a prop.

Water aerobic exercise, when regularly performed, helps keep joints supple, helps keep elevated blood pressure at normal levels, reduces risk of heart disease, and can control weight gain.  There is increasing evidence that water exercise can raise the level of HDL ("good) cholesterol in the blood.

Adults of any age should follow the same safety guidelines for water exercise. However as you get older, it's especially important to start a workout slowly. If you suffer from arthritis consult with your physician before using weighs.  Heavily damaged joints might be overly strained by using foam pool tools that increase resistance in the water. Those with arthritis in the hands, for example, might be advised to avoid dumbbells.

If you get the green light to use foam props, try these:

With water dumbbells, you can strengthen muscles around your shoulders, elbows and wrists by lifting and lowering foam dumbbells made for use underwater. A kickboard allows you to do leg-kicking laps without straining elbows and wrists. Noodles are colorful, long pieces of foam that can be used for range-of-motion and endurance exercises, such as bicycling. Ankle or wrist cuffs provide resistance when walking or jogging underwater, strengthening thigh muscles and improving mobility in knees and hips.

Foam pool tools are fun, inexpensive and a cool way to stay cool and supple this summer.

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