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Review of the Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Exercise Program

photo of women exercising in the pool with arthritis

As a Certified Yoga for Arthritis Instructor, I’m required to do a certain number of continuing education credits to renew. For me, stepping up and doing the Arthritis Foundation’s Aquatic Exercise Program training was a natural. I wrote this review of the program for the Yoga for Arthritis audience from the perspective of a yoga and aquatics professional, who lives and works with people with arthritis every day.

“As a Yoga for Arthritis teacher and former staff member, I’m passionate about helping people with arthritis gain more comfort and movement in their lives. I do that through sharing yoga and especially aqua yoga.

The Arthritis Foundation’s Exercise Program was taken over by the Aquatic Exercise Association(AEA) several years ago. Being a YFA instructor, an AEA instructor, and so passionate about aqua yoga for arthritis, I needed to step up and take the Arthritis Foundation Aquatics Professional training offered through AEA. I was really curious about how the different perspectives on arthritis and movement on land vs in water were expressed in the training.

These are some observations I had, in case you’re thinking this training represents learning potentials for you as well or are looking for a larger perspective on movement for arthritis.

First some general background on the Program. The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program is a group exercise program for seniors living with arthritis. The classes are usually offered at community/rec centers, senior centers or YMCA’s. There are land-based and aquatics-based classes in the Program.

Some background information and research support on the land component of the Program can be found HERE.

To become a trained instructor for the AF Program, the AEA offers a training course for people who are already trained fitness professionals. After finishing the course, upon passing the exam, you’re either an AFEP (Arthritis Foundation Exercise Professional for the land component) or an AFAP (Arthritis Foundation Aquatics Professional for the aquatics component). I participated in the online training course and will be addressing my comments towards that. Because YFA instructors are interested in the land-based exercise component of the program I’m just speaking to that here.

The purpose of the AFEP program is to increase or improve the participant’sbalance, coordination, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and ROM, muscular strength and endurance, posture, relaxation and weight bearing of participants.

It does this through an exercise program that can be done freestanding or in a chair.

The AFEP training course teaches the Program through a manual and video instruction. The manual has been recently redone and is very well illustrated and referenced. The videos cover individual exercises as well as background videos on the purpose of the program, information about arthritis and teaching tips.”

To read the rest of the review of the Arthritis Foundations Aquatic Exercise Program, visit the Yoga For Arthritis website.


If you want to exercise in the pool with arthritis I am a leader in aqua yoga for arthritis. This resource pack and support call will meet your needs and get you practicing safely.


If you want more information about aquatic exercise with arthritis I have a bank of articles on the topic:

Why you Should Practice Aqua Yoga with Arthritis

Aqua Yoga for Lupus

Science of Self Care

Aqua Yoga for Arthritis Research


And I’m super excited to announce that after writing this review of the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program training, that literally yesterday (2/4/20), the AEA announced they’re adding another level to the program. This “Next Level” as they’re calling it will address some of these needs for customization and options for people who live with arthritis but need more than a gentle program. Stay tuned for more information about that and I’m looking forward to participating in that program as well.


women in the pool doing aquatic exercise with arthritis in support of a review of the arthritis foundation aquatic exercise program

christa

I'm a yoga teacher who specializes in making yoga accessible in the pool and on land. I also train and coach other yoga and aquatics professionals in aqua yoga. My teaching style is engaging, responsive, and fun. 

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