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Program Details


Activities Offered
  • Fitness
  • Water Aerobics/Exercise
  • Accessible by Public Transportation: No

  • Transportation Provided by the Program: No


If you have a form of arthritis or a related condition, your physician may recommend that you begin an exercise program to help improve your flexibility and decrease pain. If you're searching for a program that will lessen joint stiffness, increase your stamina and still be fun, aquatic exercise may be the answer for you.

Water is a safe, ideal environment for relieving arthritis pain and stiffness. That's why the Arthritis Foundation offers its Aquatic Program, designed to safely keep your joints moving and improve your sense of well-being. The Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program (AFAP) is a water exercise program designed for people with arthritis and related conditions. Water exercise is especially good for people with arthritis, because it allows you to exercise without putting excess strain on your joints and muscles. The AFAP gives you the opportunity to do gentle activities in warm water, with guidance from a trained instructor. Although it is a nonclinical program (one that will not replace a prescribed regimen of therapeutic exercise), past participants have enjoyed some physical benefits such as decreased pain and stiffness.

The AFAP also provides a friendly and supportive atmosphere in which you can make new friends and try new activities. This social interaction can help decrease feelings of depression and isolation. Progress in the aquatic activities can lead to independence and improved self-esteem.

Co-developed by the Arthritis Foundation and the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), the AFAP is offered in pools throughout the United States. When the program is offered in a YMCA pool facility, it is called the Arthritis Foundation YMCA Aquatic Program or AFYAP . The program is available in non-YMCA facilities as well. In some facilities, an advanced level (called AFAP PLUS or AFYAP PLUS ) is available to those who are ready for a more vigorous program.