NOTE: This article was written by Brook Suggs, PTA, one of our great team members. She works a lot in our aquatic therapy program, so she thought she’d share some things people should know about aquatic therapy & aquatic exercise.
Should you consider aquatic therapy?
When most people think of physical activity, primarily physical therapy, they probably think of land based exercises. This may make them feel slightly intimidated based on their current fitness level. Most people not know that water-based activity is an option. When you combine water with body movement, you set yourself up for success. The properties of water allow for improved movement, without joint damage or the effects of gravity.
If you are thinking about taking control of your physical fitness levels, or feel you are in need of rehabilitation services then here are 5 things you should know about aquatic therapy:
- The benefits of buoyancy
- Water temperature
- Gateway to physical activity
- No equipment requirements
Below, I dive into each of the items on that list in a bit more detail.
1. The Benefits of Buoyancy
The buoyancy achieved with aquatic therapy allows for improved movements & joint flexibility due to feeling weightless. It also provides gentle resistance for optimal results.
2. Effect of Water Temperature
The temperature of the water typically stays around 90 degrees. This allows for therapeutic benefits like muscle relaxation, which assists in decreasing overall pain levels. The fully adapted and accessible pool we use for our programs maintains a constant temperature all year around.
3. Accessibility Aquatic Exercise
Aquatic therapy is for everyone and can be helpful across a multitude of diagnoses & fitness levels. Aquatics helps improve strength & function, while decreasing pain. It especially helps those experiencing neck/shoulder pain to hip/knee pain. lt also helps with improving balance and endurance impairments.
4. A Gateway to Physical Activity
Water-based exercise can be used as a gateway to beginning physical activity that may not be appropriate or achievable on land, whether it be from decreased strength or pain with movement.
5. No Equipment Needed for Aquatic Exercise
No equipment is required to start. Aquatic exercise can be completed with just your body and the water. Some devices and tools like aqua flex paddles, foam dumbbells, or entire aquatic exercise kits help increase resistance and create more of a challenge.
If you want to learn more about aquatic therapy, you can check out another article we wrote about that topic here. In it, we explore some of the research around the properties of water and how exercises done in the water can be beneficial on your road to recovery. And, if you’re local to the Augusta, GA area and want to learn more about what our Aquatic Therapy Program includes, click here.