TYLER-(KYTX) 56 year old Loretta Callens try's to get to the pool at East Texas Medical Center's Olympic Plaza in Tyler three days a week. But it's not just for fun.
Ten years ago she was diagnosed with arthritis in her spine. She said the pain was brutal.
"Like somebody stabbing me in the back with a butcher knife," Callens said.
Her doctor recommended exercising to ease the pain but sometimes weigh too much. So she prefers to go for a swim.
Rastus Moreland has been exercising for years and swimming at this pool since it opened more than ten years ago. He's 80 years old and has no health problems. But Moreland has a friend with arthritis and says his lifestyle is quite the opposite.
"He doesn't do anything for healthy living like walking or jogging or anything like that. So that's very different from what I do." Moreland said.
Doctor Luis Vasquez is a Rheumatologist and co-owner of Texas Arthritis. He says there are more than 150 types of arthritis but the most common is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degeneration of the joints which is the result of multiple factors. One of those factors is aging. But Vasquez said it is possible for seniors to avoid the disease.
"Good weigh control, moderate exercise, nothing extreme, all the extremes are bad." he said.
Vasquez said other things that can help prevent the disease are avoiding tobacco, drinking in moderation, and good sleeping habits. He added that the same guidelines will help those who already have arthritis and he also recommends water aerobics.
And Callens and Moreland couldn't agree more.
"I'm more alert, all the way around there's great benefits to it." Callens said.
"The days I don't workout I can notice the difference in the way I feel," Moreland said.