Can Water Exercise Increase Bone Density?

As featured in Healthy Beginnings Magazine


Strength and resistance training are the most well-known techniques to increase bone mass. The force of your muscles pulling against your bones, along with the weight, or “load,” stimulates bone growth. Most people think of lifting weights as the only right solution; however, studies have shown water exercises were found to be an exceptional tool to accomplish increased bone density.

In the study of fluid dynamics, the drag equation is a formula used to calculate the force of the drag created by an object moving through a fluid. It confirms that the amount of resistance created by velocity increases exponentially. To illustrate how much resistance is generated due to speed, Myth Busters conducted tests firing .50 caliber bullets into water showing that bullets completely disintegrate within 3 feet!

If you gently move a limb through water, you will experience 12% to 14% more resistance than making the same movement in the air. If you double your speed from your initial gentle movement, you’ll experience 4 times the amount of resistance, which means now you are creating a 48% to 56% increase in resistance. Move even faster during your water exercise, and now you’re getting a serious bone-building workout! If that’s not enough add more drag by using aquatic equipment like paddles, handbells, or gloves. Multicomponent exercise routines improve the physical status of frail older adults, prevent disability and other adverse outcomes.2 Water exercise is a multicomponent approach to working out. It is proven to improve bone density, just like lifting weights.

Water exercise may be low-impact, but it’s not less effective. Water’s diverse natural components provide additional benefits. The drag component gives you the ability to instantly modify weight with speed control, unlike picking up a 30lb dumbell. The 360-degree resistance component engages both sides of the muscle for a variety of muscular loads applied on the bone, unlike the one-directional force of gravity. This generates stimuli and promotes an osteogenic response. The hydrostatic pressure component increases blood flow's venous return. This helps lower venous blood pressure, reduces swelling and hardening of muscles, which can be experienced during vein-popping land-based exercise.

With aquatic low-impact exercises, you will be able to strategically keep your body in tip-top condition. Whether you are limited in mobility or are an athlete, we have a workout program that’s perfect for you at Paradise in Carson City Nevada. Call, visit us online or even stop by to learn more about our aquatic fitness classes today!