Curious about aquatic therapy?
Aquatic therapy is a low-impact form of exercise done in indoor or outdoor swimming pools. Activities such as walking, jogging, jumping, swimming, and kicking are done in water at about waist to shoulder level.
Exercises are usually done while upright and participants don't need to know how to swim. The buoyancy of water supports joints, but it also provides resistance for building muscle. Exercise intensity can be boosted by moving faster in the water. Water turbulence also can be used to raise the level of difficulty.
Aquatic therapy may improve muscle tone and strength, endurance, circulation, flexibility, range of motion, balance, and quality of life.
Who can do it?
People of all ages and abilities may be able to benefit from aquatic therapy. It is considered a good option for improving overall activity, especially in people with low levels of fitness.
Aquatic therapy is ideal for some older people and others who may have joint or bone problems and difficulty with balance, all of which can make land workouts more difficult. Some studies also have found water to be particularly effective for some people with arthritis. When immersed in water, those with arthritis are able to exercise with less effort, greater range of movement, and less pain than when on land.
Water pressure and temperature also may decrease swelling and aid in relaxation, which may lead to decreased muscle spasms and tightness.
If you are considering aquatic therapy, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise regime.