Atlanta, Georgia -
Ahh, nothing like the feeling of taking a dip in the cool water on a summer's day. But it's warm water that's helping people with arthritis.
Three times a week for the past three and a half years, Paula Mason could be found here, at this Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program.
"When I don't come to the class, I can tell. I don't have nearly as much range of movement, and endurance."
Paula is one of millions of Americans with arthritis. It affects people of all ages. The disease damages joints in the body, making movement sometimes painful and sometimes even impossible. That's where the warm-water exercise program comes in.
"Arthritis aquatic therapy is a joint range of motion and flexibility class designed to help people with arthritis enhance their quality of life and to have less associated pain."
A therapy pool offers participants several benefits.
"It allows their bodies to warm up to the movement- it allows for greater blood flow, warmer muscles, warmer joints for greater fluid and range of motion."
"The water allows for resistance to their movements, which will provide them a level of strength from the activity."
And, they can exercise without fear of falling, and injuring themselves. To Paula, the class has been life-changing.
"I'm a lot happier 'cause I'm able to exercise my whole body. It's opened up a lot of activity for me in my life."