Spring is here! This means lots of sunbathing, vacationing and relaxing by the pool.While on vacation, be sure to get your regular workout through a rousing game of water polo, or try taking an aqua aerobics class. There are many benefits from aquatic exercise. The water’s buoyancy makes it easier to move in the water and be flexible because it supports a portion of your body weight.
The water also helps to strengthen muscles by adding resistance to movements. Additionally, aquatic exercise can enhance agility, balance, and cardiovascular fitness. Conditions that can benefit from aquatic exercise include: arthritis; fibromyalgia; back pain; joint replacements; neurological; and balance conditions.
While your patients are getting some well needed R&R this Spring, here are a few exercises you can suggest for them to do in the pool:
- Water walking or jogging: Start with forward and backward walking in chest or waist high water. Walk about 10-20 steps forward, and then walk backward. Increase speed to make it more difficult. Also, increase intensity by jogging gently in place. Alternate jogging for 30 seconds with walking in place for 30 seconds. Continue for 5 minutes.
- Forward and side lunges: Standing near a pool wall for support if necessary, take an oversized lunge step in a forward direction. Do not let the forward knee advance past the toes. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. For a side lunge, face the pool wall and take an oversized step to the side. Keep toes facing forward. Repeat on the other side. Try 3 sets of 10 lunge steps. For variation, lunge walk in a forward or sideways direction instead of staying in place.
- One leg balance: Stand on 1 leg while raising the other knee to hip level. Place a pool noodle under the raised leg, so the noodle forms a “U” with your foot in the center of the U. Hold as long as you can up to 30 seconds and switch legs. Try 1-2 sets of 5 on each leg.
- Sidestepping: Face the pool wall. Take sideways steps with your body and toes facing the wall. Take 10-20 steps in 1 direction and then return. Repeat twice in each direction.
- Hip kickers at pool wall: Stand with the pool wall to one side of your body for support. Move 1 leg in a forward direction with the knee straight, like you are kicking. Return to start. Then move the same leg to the side, and return to the start position. Lastly, move that same leg behind you. Repeat 3 sets of 10 and switch the kicking leg.