Water therapy, also known as aquatic or hydro-therapy, is a physical therapy exercise performed in water. Water exercises can be done in a regular pool or an exercise pool, in a lake or in the ocean. Numbers of water exercise enthusiasts have been increasing throughout the years due to the many benefits derived from this type of activity.
Swimming is not the only form of water exercise. Some other examples are: abdominal exercises, water cycling, derriere kicks, and noodle stretching. These exercises can be placed into two main categories:
- Water aerobics involves jogging, running, stepping and kicking in water.
- Water resistance or strengthening improves flexibility and mobility as well as tones and strengthens the muscles.
Although anybody can perform water exercises, individuals with the following conditions can reap most of the benefits:
- Joint problems
- Back pain
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Cardiac or stroke patients
- Soft-tissue injury
Water exercises benefit any fitness level. You don’t have to be injured, in pain or obese to exercise in water. Below are some of the many benefits of doing water or pool exercises.
- Water exercises reduce pain and increase flexibility. When exercising in water fluid motions are performed reducing stress or impact on the joints.
- Water, being buoyant in nature, supports and massages the body while helping to protect injured knees, ankles, joints, and hips. It is safer for your recuperating body.
- Water causes deliberate resistance. Even when you are just walking in water, you can feel some pressure on your body. You have to push and pull to move in the water. It is like working out with weights.
- Burns calories. For obese individuals who have difficulty walking, aquatic therapy is effective in reducing weight without the adding pressure to their backs and lower extremities.
- No sweating! Water has a cooling effect on your body so you never feel overheated unlike traditional workouts.
- Aquatic therapy can reduce blood pressure because it is virtually stress and injury free. It is a great cardio-respiratory exercise since it increases oxygen intake and blood circulation.
- Hydro therapy can also improve your balance, coordination and endurance.
Note: Although water exercises are safe, do consult with your physician first if you have any of the conditions mentioned above. If you are exercising on your own and not as part of a class, remember to warm-up before and cool down after exercising. Don’t forget to keep hydrated by drinking water/fluids. Just because you are working out in the water doesn’t mean that your body hydrates itself.
You can find pool exercise classes online. The classes are usually done with the different aquatic equipment, examples of which are flotation rings, buoyant hand bars, water weights, water filled bar bells, resistance bands and tubing, tire inner tubes, and flotation belts.
Water exercise is not only beneficial to individuals needing physical therapy, but also to those who are looking for an alternative to land-based (and sometimes boring) exercises. Whatever your reasons are for choosing aquatic therapy, just remember to have fun because water exercises are a cool way toward a healthier body.