Water Exercises

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Water Exercises

Postby patoco » Sun Jun 11, 2006 4:59 am

Water Exercises

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Get Into the Swim of Things

Are you ready to take the plunge and try a new fitness activity? How about water exercise?

Also known as aquatics, water exercise is one of the best non-impact fitness activities around and just about anybody can participate. Pregnant women, the elderly or overweight, individuals with arthritis or those recovering from an injury can all benefit from the wide variety of aquatics classes currently available.

Get into the swim of things

Here are the facts: The buoyancy of water reduces the ''weight'' of a person by about 90 percent. This means that the stress on weight-bearing joints, bones and muscles is similarly reduced.

For this reason, it is unlikely that a water workout will result in injury or leave you with sore muscles. That's why the pool is such a great place for people with arthritis or back problems to exercise, and for those who are new to exercise.

But don't get the idea that just because it doesn't hurt, you can't get a great workout in the pool. Water exercise can encompass all of the components of fitness: cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility. And, when done regularly, water exercise can help reduce body fat.

Water works your heart

Aerobic workouts in the pool are perfect for those who find the same movements on land too jarring or painful: running, striding, kicking, leaping and even dancing.

Keep in mind that in the water, heart rate will be reduced by as much as 17 beats per minute when compared to land exercise. That's why it's so important to pay attention to how you feel. Your heart rate might indicate that your intensity is too low when you are actually exercising quite strenuously.

Water adds resistance

The resistance of water is perfect for a strength-training workout - instead of weights, the water itself provides the resistance. One of the easiest ways to create resistance in the water is to cup your hands and push or pull the water away from you.

Other devices, such as hand-held paddles and water chutes can increase the resistance to provide a more intense workout.
The flexible benefits of water

One of the greatest benefits of water exercise is its effect on flexibility. Water is a welcome environment for performing stretches that might otherwise be difficult on land.

Because the effects of gravity are lessened, you can move your joints through a wider range of motion and achieve long-term flexibility.
Aquatics 101.

Once you've decided to take the plunge, it's simply a matter of finding the right class for you. Check with your health club or YMCA to see if they offer aquatics classes and drop in on one or two to see if they are right for your fitness level.

A good class should include a good warm up, a period of cardiovascular and muscle conditioning that gradually increases and then decreases in intensity, and a cool down. The cool down should include plenty of flexibility exercises for the entire body.

If you have a preference for music, find a class that suits your taste. Don't be afraid to ask about instructor qualifications and safety precautions. Your instructor should be certified and may also have special training in aquatic exercise.

The pool is a fun place to feel like a kid again and get a great workout. In fact, instead of feeling out of breath or exhausted, a water class can leave you feeling surprisingly calm, yet energetic. So, even if you're a dip-your-toe-in-the-water type of person, don't be afraid to take the plunge into water fitness.

http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/fitf ... ?itemid=77


Water Exercises, University of Washington, Seattle

Last updated Thursday, January 06, 2005

Warm water exercises

General guidelines

When first entering a spa or pool, relax and enjoy the soothing water. When your muscles and joints feel more comfortable and relaxed, slowly begin your exercise routine. Allow enough time after exercising to again relax muscles before getting out of the water.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends the following guidelines when doing water exercises:

§ Submerge body part being exercised.
§ Move the body part slowly and gently.
§ Begin and end with easy exercises.
§ Follow through complete joint range of motion if possible, but do not force movement. Stop if you experience any sudden or increased pain.
§ Do three to eight repetitions as tolerated.
§ Pain that lasts for more than one to two hours after exercise may indicate overuse. Cut back next time.
§ Remember the weakening effects of heat when exercising in warm water.
§ Start slowly and don't overdo.
§ Any individuals who have severe joint damage or joint replacement should check with their doctor or surgeon before doing any of the following exercises.

The following illustrations of exercises can be done while sitting in a spa or while sitting or standing in a pool. Consult your doctor or physical therapist to determine which exercises are appropriate for you.


Forward arm reach (flexion):

Raise one or both arms forward and upward as high as possible. If one arm is very weak, you can help it with the other arm. See figure 1.

Sideways arm reach (abduction):

Slowly raise both arms out to the side, keeping the palms down. Raise only to shoulder (water) level. Then lower arms. See figure 2.

Arm circles (combined motions):

Raise both arms forward until they are a few inches below water level. Keep both elbows straight. Make small circles (about the size of a softball) with the arms. Gradually increase circle size (until the size of a basketball). Then decrease. First make inward, then outward circles. Do not raise your arms out of the water or let them cross. See figure 3.


Elbow bend (flexion/extension):

Bend the elbows and the thumbs to the shoulders. You do not have to touch. Relax elbows and straighten down along side of you. See figure 4.

Elbow bend and turn (combined motion):

Turn the arms until the palms face forward. Bend the elbows until the fingertips touch the shoulders. Relax and straighten your elbows, leading down with your palms. See figure 5.

Wrist and fingers

Wrist turn (supination/pronation):

Turn the palms toward the ceiling, then turn them down to face the bottom of the spa or pool. See figure 6.

Wrist bend (flexion/extension):

Bend the wrists backward and then forward. See figure 7.

Hand and fingers

Finger hold (thumb opposition):

Touch the tip of the left thumb to the tips of the other fingers, one at a time, to form a round letter "O". Repeat with right thumb. (May move both thumbs at the same time.) See figure 8.

Finger curl (flexion/extension):

Curl the fingers into the palm (making a loose fist) and then straighten them out. See figure 9.

Thumb circles (circumduction):

Move the thumb in a large circle. See figure 10.

Ankle and toes

Ankle bend:

Sit with back supported and slowly straighten your knee. While holding the knee straight, bend the ankle and point the toes. Then reverse to point them toward the ceiling. See figure 11.

Toe curl (flexion/extension):

Curl right toes down and then straighten them out. Repeat with left foot. See figure 12.

Ankle circles (dorsiflexion/plantar flexion and inversion/eversion):
Sit with back supported and slowly straighten your knee. While holding the knee straight, make large inward circles with the foot, moving from the ankle. Then repeat circles in the opposite direction. Repeat with other foot. See figure 13.

Hip and knee

Knee bend (flexion/extension):

Slowly raise one foot up to straighten out your knee. old straight 3 seconds. See figure 14.

Knee to chest (combined stretch):

Sit erect. Lift one knee and hug towards chest, hands under the thighs or over the knee to assist with the stretch. See figure 15.

Spread eagle hip (abduction with knee extension):
Sitting on the edge of the seat, straighten one knee. While holding it straight, slowly move it out to the side, hold 3 seconds, then bring it back to the center. Repeat with other leg. See figure 16.

Leg swing (hip flexion/extension):

Stand with left side to pool wall holding wall with left hand for balance. Keep knees straight. Lift right leg slowly forward to a comfortable height. If possible, hold leg for a count of 5 second, then slowly swing leg backward. Motion should

only occur in hip (not waist or neck). Keep upper body straight at all times. Repeat with left leg--right side to wall. See figure 17.

Knee lift (hip and knee flexion/extension):

Stand with back or left side against pool wall. Bend right knee, bringing thigh parallel to water surface. Straighten the knee; then bend it again. Lower leg, keeping knee bent. Repeat on left. See figure 18.

Calf stretch:

Stand with left side to wall, holding wall with left hand for balance. Stand straight with legs slightly apart and left leg forward of right. Keeping body straight, lean forward, slowly letting left knee bend. Keep right knee straight and heel on bottom. Court 5. Return to starting position. Repeat with right leg forward, right side to pool. See figure 19.

Side leg lift (hip abduction and adduction):

Stand with left side to pool wall, holding wall with left hand for balance, knees relaxed. Swing right leg out toward center of pool and back to midline. Do not cross in front of left leg. Repeat with left leg--right side to wall. See figure 20.


Walk normally across or in a circle in the pool. Swing your arms as you walk. See figure 21.


Side bend (flexion):

Place hands on hips and, without moving your feet, bend slowly toward the right; then return to starting position and bend to the left. Do not twist or turn the trunk. Arms may hang at the side, if preferred, and as you lean to the right, let the right hand slide down the thigh. Repeat on the left. See figure 22.

Article and Illustrations:

http://www.orthop.washington.edu/uw/liv ... fault.aspx


Water-based therapy for exercise

The techniques used in water therapy exercise for back pain include spa therapy, standing or floating pool exercises, swimming, and conditioning using specialized equipment, such as surgical tubing, flotation devices and resistive devices for the hands or feet. Spa treatments complementing water therapy back exercise typically involve relaxing in warm, agitated water.

Active techniques for water therapy back exercise are diverse and should be tailored to the individual patient. Exercises range from simple routines performed in a shallow pool to conditioning using underwater treadmills and other high-tech equipment.

Some of the basic techniques for pool therapy exercises are as follows (they can be modified for varying degrees of difficulty):

· Knee-to-chest exercise—performed with one hand on the side of the pool or with back to the wall

· Leg raise exercise—performed with one leg outstretched and the supporting leg slightly bent while one hand holds on to the side of the pool

· Wall-facing leg stretch exercise—stretching exercise in “Superman” position with hands resting on side of pool

· Pool walking exercise—forward or backward walking therapy

· Quadruped activity and exercise—performed in prone position with legs and arms making paddling motions, with trunk supported by therapist or flotation jacket

Combined water therapy for back exercise with land-based methods

Continued water therapy for back exercise is appropriate if land-based methods worsen symptoms or if the patient prefers water exercises. If their functional status or competitive goals require it, patients may transition to exercise in a dry environment once they are successfully performing exercises in water.

Some patients may benefit from mixed use of wet and dry exercise therapy environments.

Conclusion to water therapy for back exercise

Although formal scientific evidence for the specific benefits of water therapy exercise in treating back pain is sparse, the value of appropriate exercise programs is well established. The aquatic medium is ideal for patients for whom land-based options for back exercise are limited.

By: Andrew J. Cole, MD

May 1, 2001


Water Running

Benefits of Water Running?

There are many benefits of water running.

· Great for both training and injury rehabilitation.
· Helps you build strength and stamina by mimicking running without any weight-bearing stress on your legs.
· The resistance of the water as you pump your arms and legs helps you strengthen your muscles and joints.
· Great form of cross training
· Excellent way to rehabilitate an injury.
· An injured runner can increase resistance while reducing mileage and risk of injury.
· Helps prevent injuries
· Decreases the stress on your joints, while increasing your range of motion.

Who can Benefit from Water Running?

Anyone can benefit from water running. For athletes, it is a great form of cross training and an excellent way to rehabilitate an injury and prevent injuries. Water running can allow an injured athlete to recover without loosing fitness. It can also help with improving running form and decreasing risk of sustaining injuries by decreasing the stress on running on hard surfaces.


If you plan on running in the water, you should buy some sort of floatation belt or jacket. One of the most popular form of aqua training devices is the AquaJogger. The AquaJogger is made from EVA foam. It looks like a belt that you strap around your waist. Almost any flotation vest or belt will work nearly as well. The main goal of many aqua training devices is to keep your body afloat while allowing you to train without stress to the body.

Adding additional aqua training devices, such as a socks, dumbbells, and gloves allows you to vary your effort and intensity.


· Simulate your normal running style.
· Keep a loosely closed fist and let your legs move you forward.
· Let the bottoms of your feet to kick the water behind you.
· Take short, quick strides. A fast cadence intensifies the workout.
· Expect a lower stride cadence.
· Your heart rate will be about 10 percent lower than at the same intensity on land.



Water Exercises: The Coolest Workout!

by Maia Appleby

So it's too hot to walk or run outside, you say? Don't feel like riding a bike or playing tennis in the brutal heat? Do you want to enjoy your outdoor summer exercise without that sweaty, sticky feeling?

How about hopping in the pool and doing your workout the luxurious way? The pool just might be the only place where you can do cardiovascular work, toning and stretching without even feeling like you've broken a sweat!


Swimming laps is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your heart and lungs. If you're a decent swimmer and enjoy lap swims, spend a few minutes a day at it to warm up for toning and stretching.Otherwise, walking or running in the pool is just as effective. It may sound easy, but just try it! If you go in up to your shoulders and run, you'll get your heart rate up with no problem. It may be very difficult to sustain at first, but try to build up your time to at least twenty minutes. One very important thing to remember is to keep your feet as fully planted as possible while you do your pool exercises, especially when walking and running. If you tiptoe (which people tend to do without realizing it), your calves will be killing you the next day. Keep those heels down!


The wonderful thing about water is that it gives you natural resistance with absolutely no impact to the joints. For those with severe arthritis or other joint problems, it offers the perfect alternative to lifting weights. You really can tone up in the pool. Just like weight training, your muscles are contracting against resistance, becoming stronger with each session.

There are exercises you can do for every muscle group, and your risk of injury is extremely low. Think about exercises you do with free weights.

The beauty of resistance training is that it is very easily modified. Anything that you do with dumbbells can be translated into a water exercise. If you already have a routine with free weights, you have a license to create your own water move that does the same thing.

Be creative, but also be mindful at all times of your body position (which can be thrown off in the water). Keep your weight distributed evenly and check your posture often. Keep your abdominals tucked in to support your back throughout every exercise. Don't bend, stretch or reach any further than you do on land. It takes time to grow accustomed to the gravitational difference in water, but as your experience grows, your body will become more in-tune with the water. Here are a few examples of modified free weight exercises:

For the quadriceps (front of the thighs), hamstrings and glutes: Stand with your feet hip-width apart in shallow water with your arms bent at your sides, hands out flat with fingers together and palms up. Slowly bend your knees into a squat position, sticking your derriere out behind you (don't worry about looking silly - you're under water!). Do not allow your knees to extend beyond your toes, but try to simulate a sitting-in-a-chair position. Cupping your hands, keeping your back neutral (not arched) and abs tucked in, exhale and stand up straight. Turn your hands to return to the starting position. Be very careful to maintain perfect form throughout this exercise.

For hips and glutes: Facing the edge of the pool, hold on with both hands and slowly bring one leg out to your side, keeping your back straight. Exhale while you bring it up as high as you comfortably can without turning at the ankle (this probably won't be as high as you could if you did turn your ankle). Bring it back down and repeat, doing a full set for each leg.

For glutes: KICK! You can breeze around on a kickboard or hold onto the side of the pool, but the scissoring motion is great for the buttocks and hamstrings, and it indirectly tones the abdominals. What could be more fun than this?

For the back, shoulders and arms: Do pull-ups. Grasp the side of the pool and lower your body as far as your arms will allow. Keeping your knees bent, exhale and pull yourself up as high as you can (the range of motion for this will vary greatly from one person to another).

For the chest: Standing in water up to your neck, reach your hands out to each side, with your elbows unbent and your palms forward. Slowly bring them together, clapping your hands, and then turn your hands to return to the starting position.

For triceps: Stand straight, with your open hands palms-down on the surface of the water. Keeping your elbows locked at your sides (pretend they're glued to your ribcage), exhale and push down until your hands are beside your hips. Turn your hands and bring them back to the starting position.

For biceps: Bring your open hands to the side of each hip, palms forward, with your fingers close together. Exhale as you slowly bend at the elbow to bring your hands toward your shoulders.

For abs, you can simulate crunches, or here's a toughie: stand with your back to the side of the pool, holding onto the rim with your elbows. Keeping your knees unbent, slowly bring both legs up to a sitting position and hold it for ten seconds. Do not hold your breath, though. Breath slowly throughout this exercise. Then bend at the knee to bring them down, repeating this as many times as you'd like to. Be careful to keep your back straight throughout this exercise. There are lots of gadgets available for toning; you can get these at most department stores or athletic supply stores. They make the work a little more challenging and possibly give you speedier results, but it's better to begin water exercise without them. Once you feel like you need to push yourself a little harder, go ahead and use them. They'll add a new flavor to your old workout, keeping you motivated and interested.


Just about any of the stretches you do on land can also be done in the water. When you're finished with your toning, hold the side of the pool with one hand, stand on one foot, bend the other knee and grasp your ankle with your free hand to stretch your quadriceps and hip flexors. Hold the side of the pool with one hand and turn your body by pointing your toes away from the wall to stretch your biceps and pectorals. There are many, many stretches that you can do. Just make sure that you're properly warmed up (this takes a little longer in the pool) and keep your feet flat on the floor at all times. Finito! You're done. Remember that your perceived exertion is a little off in the pool - you may feel like you didn't work that hard, but you did. You also may be a little sore the next day, so don't push yourself too hard until you know how much you can handle.


You don't have gills to keep your body hydrated, and it is possible to become dehydrated in the pool, so make sure you drink water before and after your workout. Once working out in the pool becomes a part of your summer lifestyle, you may begin to think you're a fish, but that's only because pool exercise is so fun, it has you hooked!

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Re: Water Exercises

Postby Queenie EJC » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:44 am

I have severe lymphedema of the legs and pelvis secondary to radical surgery and radiation. I also have severe osteoarthritis of both knees. I have participated in Aquatics at a local YMCA, but found that my knee pain became more severe. I want to help my lymphedema as much as possible and very much enjoy the refreshing exercise in a pool. I know that chest high depth is best for lymphedema. My question is how to incorporate aquatics to help my lymphedema and not aggravate the knee situation. I realize that this question also relates to arthritis, but was wondering if anyone has had similar problems with the knees and how they may have worked around it. Thanks.
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Re: Water Exercises

Postby fineline888 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:18 am

Love the water exercises but find that my legs freak out the people in the locker room and sometimes the people at the pool :( I need to find a more conducive place to work out. Also could use a social group.....I am alone much of the time since I got sick.
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