BENEFITS OF AQUATIC EXERCISE POST PHYSICAL THERAPY
Water therapy isn’t new; it’s a method which has been used for thousands of years all over the world. Bathing in spring water was known to help Romans and Greeks to treat illness, thermal waters in Sweden were used to treat their ill and elderly, Japanese early on recognized the mental and physical benefits of their hot springs (referred to as onsen) and in Germany physicians widely prescribed a variety of water therapies. Aquatic exercise is often used as a remedy for sore joints and muscles, is a great way to improve muscle tone, and is incredibly low impact. The resistance provided by water means that you can get a great workout without having to bother about using weights or suffering further injury by misjudging your ability. Exercise done in a pool, lake or ocean can improve your flexibility, balance, and coordination. It can also help build up your endurance, assist with proper gait and maintain or improve mobility. You’ll probably also notice that your exercises performed in water allow you to reduce your stress level and is a wonderful way to promote relaxation. Your natural buoyancy means that you can go through your motions with a decreased gravitational pull, lessening compression and making exercises easier to do than if you were on land.
If you’ve suffered an injury, stroke, or some other type of condition and have completed your physical therapy, aquatic exercise can be a wonderful next step. There are several benefits to exercise in your local pool or body of water;
Your body has an incredible number of nerve endings in both your muscles and your skin. The pressure from being submerged in water creates constant stimulus, and your brain will be inclined to dull the part of the nervous system that is responsible for managing tactile sensory neurons so as to not feel overwhelmed. This allows you to stretch and move with less pain that you may otherwise be experiencing. Even those sensitive or averse to being touched often feel more at ease while exercising in a pool as their physical senses are dulled.
Your heart and lungs work harder under water than on land because your chest cavity is under constant increased pressure from being submerged in water. (This means that one workout can have further reaching benefits than the same workout on land.) Think of the pool as a compression bandage for your entire body, which helps to alleviate some of the chronic pain you may be feeling, allowing you to reach further and work harder. The increased blood flow from the compression on your heart and lungs will help to pump oxygen rich blood to your extremities, something that can go great lengths with the healing process.
You won’t need to have exercise equipment to get a fantastic workout that touches every muscle in your body and allows you a wide range of movement. Your muscles will recover faster in less pain, and you don’t have to worry about falling as the water helps you to maintain balance. You’re forced to move a lot more slowly while submerged in water, and this means that your brain and muscles have more time to process each and every movement, building a far better muscle memory as you go along. You’re also more likely to perform each movement with more precision, and have time to focus on form.
With many exercises, you tend to focus on one or another muscle or part of your body instead of using your entire body at once. Being in the water helps you to locate and make use of your core, and generally the movements allow for your entire body or many more groups of muscles to be addressed at once.
One of the pleasant side effects of being in water is the massage that water can give. Even a gentle flow or waves being produced from exercising bodies can give enough of a current that feels nice and can help relax tired or sore muscles. Buoyancy also helps relieve pressure on the feet, ankles and legs.
Let’s not forget that being in a pool is just plain fun. The enjoyment that can be had during an exercise class; either as part of a group or solo, can be a part of the day that you’ll look most forward to. The fact that you feel better and better after each session will give you the motivation you need to go back and make further progress. Almost any exercise that you can do in a gym has an alternate under the water. The more pleasant and enjoyable your exercise is, the more likely it will be that you’ll stick with it on your road back to good health and well-being.
This article was written by Nina Wells from Vidalux. She has over 10 years’ experience in writing health related topics and specializes in the health benefits of saunas and hydrotherapy.