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PARE0001 Tartu rheumatism association: “Physical activity and water are beneficial for joint health”. Hele lemetti, tiina jasinski, lea taim, marika tammaru
  1. H. Lemetti,
  2. T. Jasinski,
  3. L. Taim,
  4. M. Tammaru
  1. Tartu Rheumatism Assotiation, Estonian Rheumatism Assotiation, Tartu, Estonia


Background The project has been helping to ease people’s problems with arthritis for more than six years. It has been striving to raise awareness about the importance of consistently keeping joints moving. Tartu Rheumatism Association has made it their goal to promote different means of exercising. In addition to aerobics classes and outings for Nordic walking organised year-round on regular basis, an important form of exercising, which this particular project highlights, is water aerobics.

Objectives This health-promoting project aims to improve the awareness of Tartu Rheumatism Association members suffering arthritis about the benefits of water and Nordic walking therapy and how to improve one’s quality of life through practicing these activities. A further goal is to enthuse the members to continue doing physical exercises even after the end of the project and also give non-members an opportunity to partake.

Methods The board of Tartu Rheumatism Association has made a request for funding of the project to the Estonian Council of Gambling Tax and Tartu City Government. The members of the association will also cover a part of the cost of the project. A small fee is imposed in order to increase the participants’ sense of responsibility towards taking care of their health. A contract with Aura Centre has been signed for using their facilities. Lectures about different health topics and counselling for new participants are held before the swimming lessons. More information about specific exercises, which can be practiced in water, can be found on the website of the association. Moreover, group outings for Nordic walking are held under the instructions of an experienced trainer on hiking trails around Tartu as well as in more distant locations. For example, visiting annual Nordic walking days in Tallinn organised by Estonian Rheumatism Association.

Results Participants have actively taken part in not only aerobic lessons, but also the more unconventional Nordic walking and water aerobics lessons. In fact, more than 280 visits were held to the local swimming and health venue Aura Centre. All in all, feedback was very positive. The participants summed up the good effects on their health: water aerobics has promoted muscular strength, stimulated the work of cardiovascular and respiratory systems. The soothing and massaging effect water has, was also brought out as very enjoyable and moreover, blood pressure was noticed to normalise after regular exercising. What is more, water reduces stress, helps to improve stamina, balance and coordination of movement. The same beneficial effects were brought out regarding Nordic walking and aerobics.

Conclusions All 60 members of Tartu Rheumatism Association, who have taken part in this project, have found water and regular aerobics lessons and Nordic walking beneficial to their health. In order to keep developing and improving their health behaviour and keep people with arthritis doing physical activities it is necessary to organise a follow-up project.

Disclosure of Interest None Declared

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