Exercises from AEA’s Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program can and should be included in all fitness classes. I don’t teach arthritis specific programs, but I have been including the exercises in my classes for years. Why? Arthritis exercises are designed to move a joint through its full range of motion. In the fitness industry, this type of exercise is more popularly referred to as functional training. Arthritis exercise and functional training are similar in that that both are designed to prepare the body for real-life movements by including exercises that move the body in all directions and angles. The main difference is that arthritis exercise is used to improve activities of daily living, while functional training is often used to enhance sports performance.
Arthritis Treatment & Prevention: What can you do?
Whether you currently suffer from arthritis or just want to maintain healthy joints, almost all research provides similar recommendations, including eating a proper diet and maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight places extra strain on the weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, ankles, hips, and back. According to the Arthritis Foundation, every pound of excess weight you carry results in an additional four pounds of extra pressure on your weight-bearing joints. Also important is the need to protect joints in daily activities and sports. Injuries are a leading cause of osteoarthritis. However, the most important recommendation for arthritis treatment and prevention is exercise. Movement is essential for healthy joint function. As people age, they become more sedentary. This why osteoarthritis tends to develop in people over the age of 60. Watch Mark talk more about maintaining joint health.
Joint Health 101
The human body is largely made up of synovial joints, which are joints where the bones are connected. Synovial fluid is found in the cavity of these synovial joints. Exercise moves that synovial fluid around the joint cavity and keeps the joint supple. Lack of movement prevents that synovial fluid from dispersing and lubricating the joint. Without this lubrication, the joint loses elasticity over time and becomes stiffer and more prone to injury and inflammation. Daily activities are simply not enough to move a joint through its full range of motion for optimal lubrication. This is what well planned exercise is designed to achieve.
Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program (AFAP)
The Category 1 exercises in the AFAP are specifically designed to move a joint through its full range of motion. The exercises are categorized by the major joints of the body, including Jaw & Neck, Shoulder & Elbow, Wrist & Fingers, Trunk, Hip & Knee, Ankle & Toes. Deep Revive includes many exercises from Category 1, as well as exercises from Category 2, which includes cardiorespiratory endurance and optional deep water. Including AFAP exercises into water fitness programs, whether they are high intensity or mind & body, simply makes them more results-oriented because all of the joints get moved through their full range of motion. For more information on maintaining joint health, be sure to bookmark AEA’s Better Health, which features articles dedicated to healthy aging. Watch Mark talk more about teaching arthritis exercises and the Arthritis Foundation resources available to you.
AEA's Arthritis Foundation Resources
Getting certified with AEA's Arthritis Foundation (AF) Program Leader Online Course a few years ago was a game changer for me. It opened my eyes to all an all new library of exercises that I could include in my classes to make them more meaningful and provide my students with better fitness results. The AF Program Leader Manual is a must-have. It is only $25.00 in AEA's Online AKWA Shop. The manual contains all of the AF exercises and I constantly refer to it when I am creating my videos and classes. Be sure to bookmark the Arthritis section of AEA's website for a complete menu of AF resources. And consider signing up for a virtual AF Program Leader course coming up on March 3 & 5, 2021.
If you liked the classical music used in this this video, the playlists, Classical Strength and Super Strings, are both available in Power Music's Virtual Category. The music was adjusted to 124 bpm for this video.
Intuitive fitness is all about listening to your body and learning to be flexible with your exercise activities, depending on how you feel on a given day. Don’t force high intensity exercise when you are tired, sore or not feeling well. Choose a lower intensity activity, such as walking, yoga or stretching. The “no pain, no gain” overzealous approach to an exercise regimen is often the reason why people ultimately fail to stick with a fitness program. Embrace the belief that all movement and activity is beneficial and that it is okay to give yourself permission to change exercise plans on any given day. Deep Revive was designed so students could do it gently or more vigorously, whichever they felt like doing. Watch Mark talk more about intuitive fitness and owning the exercise experience
Deep Revive is an ideal workout for those times when you want to dial back on intensity and treat your students to more joint mobility and muscular flexibility. It is also a great opportunity to educate the importance of maintaining joint health. Encourage your students to honor their body and perform this workout at whatever intensity they prefer.
Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.