September 13, 2019
For some people, things are just better when you add water. Avid swimmers already know this, but what you might not realize is that the pool isn’t only for swimming. Aquatic exercise—which is essentially any form of exercise performed in the water—is an incredible way to get active for all individuals, but especially for those who struggle to do so on land. So if you happen to be experiencing any pain in Bowie, aquatic exercise could be the solution that you’re looking for.
Any form of physical activity performed in water is classified as a low-impact exercise. This means that compared to many land-based exercises like running, far less pressure is being placed on your joints. In fact, due to its buoyancy, you only weigh 10% of your actual body weight when suspended in water. This allows you to move freely with less stress on your joints and a lower risk of injuring yourself or making an injury worse. This is the primary reason aquatic exercise is strongly recommended for individuals with painful conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, hip or knee pain, or joint replacements.
When performed regularly, aquatic exercise can improve agility, balance, and cardiovascular fitness, and the water’s temperature can also serve as a healing force. Pools are usually kept at 90-97°F, and it’s believed that performing exercises in warmer water helps to reduce symptoms by soothing painful muscles and joints. In addition, the water itself also provides resistance to movements, which helps to strengthen muscles in ways that are not possible on land.
So if you’re dealing with pain in Bowie and it sounds like aquatic exercise might be right for you, here are a few tips to keep in mind before getting started:
- Consider using water shoes for traction on the pool floor and a Styrofoam noodle or floatation belt/vest to keep you afloat in deeper water
- Webbed water gloves, Styrofoam weights, inflated balls, or kickboards are also good options to have in the pool for increased resistance
- Remember that slower movements in the water will provide less resistance than faster movements
- Be sure to stay hydrated, even though it will be more difficult to tell that you’re sweating
Specific aquatic exercises to address your pain in Bowie
Below is a selection of some basic aquatic exercise that you can try on your own. If you’re new to working out in a pool or have not been active in a while, be sure to consult with your doctor or physical therapist before proceeding:
- One leg balance: stand on one leg while raising the other knee to hip level and place a noodle under the raised leg to form a “U” with your foot at its center; hold your leg in that position for 30 seconds, then switch; try 1-2 sets of 5 on each leg
- Water walking or jogging: walk about 10-20 steps forward and then backward in chest- or waist-high water; increase your speed or try jogging in place to make it more difficult; also try alternating this with water weights for 5 minutes
- Arm raises: hold your arms at your sides while wearing arm paddles or webbed gloves; bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, then raise and lower your elbows and arms toward the water surface while keeping your elbows bent; repeat for 3 sets of 10
- Deep-water bicycle: in deeper water, loop one or two noodles around your back and rest your arms on top for support; then move your legs as if you are riding a bicycle; continue for 3-5 minutes
- Kickboard resistance exercise: stand up straight with your legs comfortably apart and tighten your abs; then extend your right arm and hold the kickboard on each end; keeping your left elbow close to your body, move the kickboard toward the center of your body; return to the starting position and repeat 15 times, then repeat on the other side
- Pool planks: hold a noodle in front of you, then lean forward into a plank position; hold for about 15-60 seconds depending on your core strength; repeat 3-5 times
Aquatic exercise can be performed year-round, so if you have access to a pool, it could be a perfect option for the colder months when most people prefer to stay indoors. But if you’re dealing with pain in Bowie that just won’t seem to go away, aquatic exercise is also only part of the solution. Our physical therapists can help you the rest of the way by prescribing a comprehensive treatment program that’s designed specifically for you. Contact CAM Physical Therapy at 301-464-7390 today to schedule an appointment at any of our four locations in Glenn Dale/Bowie, Laurel, or Hyattsville, or Silver Spring, MD, or click here for more information on aquatic exercise.