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Healthy Balance

5 Joint-Friendly Exercises to Do This Summer and Year Round

people exercising in the pool

If you're looking for an energizing fitness routine this summer, but need to go easy on your joints due to arthritis or other joint pain, look no further than your local pool and these joint-friendly exercises. Water workouts are easy on your joints while offering an effective way to:

Can't bear the thought of doing laps or don't really know how to swim? That's okay. There are many types of exercises you can do in the pool that don't require you to swim – in fact, they can be done right in the shallow end of the pool.

Workout Without Pain

Get in shape without pain with these pool exercises. Here are 5 joint-friendly exercises to try:

Squat Jump

Stand in shallow water and extend your arms sideways at shoulder height. Squat down, as if you are sitting on a chair. Then jump up through the water as high as you can as you extend your arms over your head. Repeat for 1 to 3 minutes.

Bicycle Pedals

Hold on to the side of the pool with your arms extended and your back to the edge. Pedal your legs as if you were riding a bicycle, dragging them through the water. Keep moving for a couple of minutes or see how long you can go before getting tired.


Still holding on to the side of the pool with your back to the edge, extend your legs straight out in front of you. Alternate pulling both knees up into your chest and then extending your legs straight again. Continue for 1 to 3 minutes.

Upper Body Weight Training

You can do the same types of exercises with weights in the water as you can do on land, such as bicep curls, triceps pushes, flies and rows. The main difference is that doing the exercises in water is easier on your joints.

Have Joint Pain?

Take this quiz to see what your next steps should be.

One Leg Balance

Stand in waist-high water and lift one knee up, placing a pool noodle under your raised foot. Keep your hands by your side and balance on one leg with your foot on the middle of the noodle. Aim for 1 minute on each side. For an added challenge, lift your arms above your head as you balance.

For a full body workout, jog in place for 1- to 3-minute intervals between exercises. Keep knees high as you alternate feet in waist-high water. Jogging at a high intensity in the water can burn 17 calories a minute.

Always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have a health condition.

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