Joint pain can bring you to your knees — literally. Whether it’s caused by arthritis, injury, or tendinitis, joint pain can make it difficult to move through life. You might struggle walking up the stairs or feel pain when you sit down to watch TV. Hobbies and other activities that you love can also be challenging.
But if you are feeling discouraged by chronic knee pain, you are not alone. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 18 million people see a doctor for knee pain each year.
Knee pain can be caused by overuse, osteoarthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, meniscus tears, and sprained knee ligaments. Autoimmune conditions, such as fibromyalgia and lupus, can also affect the joints and cause pain.
There are myriad treatments for knee pain, from medications to surgery. You might be surprised, though, when your doctor recommends exercise.
Gentle stretching, physical therapy, and exercise can improve your knee pain and overall knee health. Exercise can build the muscles around your knee, which helps support the joint and reduce the stress on your knee.
Water exercise, including aquatic therapy in a Master Spas swim spa, can be a particularly safe option for those who want to improve their knee health.
Water exercise for knee pain
Statistics show that more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic knee pain. Chronic knee pain can affect not only a person’s mobility but overall quality of life.
But according to Dr. Lauren Elson of Harvard Medical School, exercise is one of the most important things you can do to help knee pain.
Switching from high-impact activities to low-impact workouts will allow you to exercise without putting less stress on your knee. Water exercise, whether it’s swimming or aquatic therapy, can be particularly beneficial for those with knee pain.
Why is water exercise good for knee pain?
Water’s natural properties create a support system for the body. When you are in water, its buoyancy can reduce the effects of gravity on your body. The absence of stress can make moving in the water easier.
According to research in the Journal of Human Kinetics, exercising in the water allows for a greater range of physical activity without the impact on the joints. Not only can you move with less pain in the water, you can improve your fitness, balance, flexibility, and overall health.
In addition, moving in water offers more resistance than air. What does that mean? You have to work harder to lift your leg in water than you would on land. The faster you move through the water, the more resistance you will feel. The result? Increased muscular strength and power without the impact on your knees and other joints.
But there’s another important element to a water exercise routine for knee health — temperature.
If you want to incorporate aqua aerobics to alleviate knee pain, the water temperature should be 92 degrees to 98 degrees. For comparison, most lap swimming pools are kept between 82 degrees and 88 degrees. Warm water can soothe sore joints, increase circulation, and improve flexibility.
Note: Before you start an exercise program for knee pain, be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist.
Water exercise at home with a swim spa
People with chronic knee pain or those recovering from joint replacement can benefit from regular exercise, specifically warm water therapy. However, many people find that they encounter barriers to exercise. Work, family commitments, and access to a pool can all affect your plans to exercise.
However, you shouldn’t be limited by your ability to get to the pool or fit a class into your busy schedule.
You can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of aquatic exercise without leaving home. A Master Spas swim spa is a pool alternative that you can use year-round, in any climate.
The adjustable controls of the swim spa allow you to set the water temperature in the therapeutic range. The continuous current is ideal for water exercise, whether you choose to walk, jog, or do strength-based exercises.
In addition, Master Spas swim spas offer the benefits of a hot tub. Hydrotherapy jets deliver a soothing massage, whether you want to target tension in your shoulders or pain in your hips.
10 best knee exercises for the swim spa
Strengthening the muscles that support your knee will reduce stress on your knee joint. Strong muscles in the front of your thigh and back of your thigh help reduce the impact on your joints. The less strain on your knee, the better the chances are for pain relief and preventing further injury.
But if you are struggling with knee pain, you might be afraid that exercise will just add to this pain. Water exercise can be a safe, effective option for many people experiencing chronic knee pain.
In a recent Facebook Live video, Ben Gilliam and Mari Cuticelli demonstrate 10 water exercises for knee health. These exercises help strengthen the muscles and soft tissue around the knee.
Most of these exercises for knee pain do not require equipment and can be done without the jets on.
Swim spa exercises for knee health
Step downs: With one foot on the bottom step of the swim spa, extend the opposite leg in front of the bottom. Lower yourself into the water as if you are doing a one-legged squat. If you struggle with knee pain or mobility, you can lower halfway. Perform 10 to 12 repetitions on each leg.
Step down holds: With one foot on the bottom swim spa step, lower yourself into the water. Hold at the bottom. The goal is to hold this position for 45 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Kickboard knee raises: Place a kickboard underneath one foot. Be sure to put your foot in the center of the kickboard. Press down onto the kickboard so that your leg is straight. Gently release your stance, bringing up the knee. Repeat for 12 to 15 repetitions on each side.
Single-leg sweep: Lift one leg forward in front of your body, keeping it as straight as possible. Pause briefly and then kick your extended leg behind you. Repeat on the other side.
Side leg extension: With your leg straight, lift your leg out to the side. You can hold onto the side of the swim spa for balance. Do the exercise for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Lift kick: Bend your knee and lift it up toward the surface of the water. Once lifted, extend your leg in front of you. Reverse the motion. Perform 12 to 15 repetition and repeat on the other side.
Butt kicks: As if you were jogging in place, lift one foot toward your behind and then the other. Repeat for 60 seconds.
Double butt kicks: Jump with both feet, trying to bring your feet toward your butt. This exercise is an advanced move.
Straight leg march: With your leg straight, lift it toward the surface of the water. Lower your leg and repeat on the other side. Speed up the exercise to raise your heart rate.
Side jumps: Stand in the swim spa with your feet shoulder-width apart. Jump your feet out wide as if you were doing a jumping jack. Jump your feet back to the start. Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds.
These simple water exercises for your swim spa can improve your overall well-being, whether you need to improve your knee health or just want to be more active.
How much does a swim spa cost?
Do you want to be able to swim, exercise, and relax at home? Having a Master Spas swim spa allows you to swim on your schedule while adding a fun factor to your backyard. You can click here to find out more about the benefits of hydrotherapy and relaxing in a hot tub. Or, contact your local Master Spas retailer to learn more about swim spa ownership. Wondering how much a swim spa costs? You can request a quote here.