In therapy we often hear from our patients how hard it is to get started back into exercise, especially if you have painful joints limiting your mobility. One answer is to “get wet”! The water helps to support your body weight, taking the stress off your joints.
Exercising in water has been shown to decrease stiffness, swelling and pain, and to increase mobility, strength and function of muscles and joints. The water environment improves cardiovascular endurance, circulation and respiration. Water based exercise is so effective that it is used by professional athletes and NASA for cross training.
Another benefit of exercising in the water is that it improves balance and coordination.
You don’t need to be able to swim to exercise in the water. Stay in the shallow end of the pool, the more of your body that is submerged, the more of your weight is taken off your joints. You can also get a floatation devise that fits around your waist like a belt or hang on to a “floating noodle” and jog in place.
As with any exercise program start with a short period of time and gradually increase your workout. For ideas on how to get started, stop by and talk to our aquatics expert, Leah Stafford, PTA
Good luck and enjoy the water.
Julie Tanaka, PT