Aquatic Therapy to Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis
Having lived with rheumatoid arthritis since his late teens and undergone a hip replacement a decade ago, Joe Alldredge has a fairly visceral and immediate reaction to any interruption in his Endless Pool exercise routine.
"I typically work out first thing in the morning, in order to get to work by 8," Joe says, "and if I don't, getting loose - any movement, really - just seems to take longer."
A condition that causes inflammation and swelling in joints, rheumatoid arthritis is a kind of physiological double-whammy: Because movement causes discomfort, range of motion is constricted and muscles in turn begin to atrophy, all of which further worsens the pain of movement.
Aquatic therapy can help to break this cycle by all but eliminating the load joints must bear during exercise, even as its resistance 600 to 700 times that of air provides an excellent medium for increasing strength and endurance.
Joe, 30, who attended college on a wrestling scholarship, maintains a temperature of about 85 degrees in his Endless Pool. His half-hour workout, which he customarily does four times weekly, is both aerobic and anaerobic, combining stretching and 10 minutes of brisk freestyle swimming, followed by five minutes of breaststroke.
A construction company executive, Joe was able to integrate his Endless Pool in the home he completed building last July.