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Why Water?

Written by Mandy Miedema
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When you think of water exercise, what comes to mind?  Maybe you think of water aerobics classes or high school swimmers.  What you may not know is how water can help someone of any age and any condition.  Because of the buoyancy, when you are standing in chest level in water, you lose approximately 75 percent of your weight.  This decompression on your joints makes exercise more comfortable for persons with back pain, arthritis, joint pain, surgery, chronic pain, and for pregnant women.  Water exercise is a great way to increase strength and range of motion and improve balance. 

Even with extensive research showing the benefits of water exercise and aquatic therapy, athletes don’t often think of jumping in the pool.  After being injured, athletes worry about losing strength and endurance, but water running is a great way to stay fit while injured. 

The latest research published in JOSPT (Volume 42, No. 5) studied the effects of PerspectivesWaterRunningstationary running in water versus running on land.  The researchers had 22 college athletes run in water and run on land.  They tested these runners in different depths and at different speeds.   The buoyancy of the water decreased the weight bearing forces by 40 percent when in water at hip level and decreased the force by nearly 50 percent when in water at chest level.  The mechanics of stationary running in water were very similar to the mechanics of stationary running on land.  With the decreased weight bearing force being the only significant difference, running in water is a great way for athletes to rehabilitate after an injury or to cross train to prevent injury.  Persons with shin splits, lower extremity fractures, strains, and sprains would greatly benefit from training in the water. 

If you think that you could benefit from water exercise or running, consult your physician for a referral to The Center for Physical Rehabilitation where we offer aquatic therapy provided by certified aquatic therapists. 

 

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