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Water exercise helping arthritis patients

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Warm water exercise is helping arthritis patients to have less pain and more movement. (Source: CNN) Warm water exercise is helping arthritis patients to have less pain and more movement. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) - There's nothing like the feeling of taking a dip in cool water on a hot summer's day. But if you have arthritis, exercising in warm water can help relieve pain.

Three times a week, for the past two and a half years, Paula Mason could be found at an 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," she said.

Mason 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," Exercise Pathologist Paige Jones said.

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," Jones said.

They can exercise without fear of falling, and injuring themselves.

To Mason, the class has been life changing.

"I'm a lot happier because I'm able to exercise my whole body," she said.

Copyright 2013 CNN. All rights reserved.

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