The time is here!!! Time for fun in the surf, sand, and sun! Of course, some prefer the calmer places of lake and land. And others, the crystal-clear water and concrete bottoms of the backyard and neighborhood pools. Whatever your pleasure, moving around in the water can be some of the best exercises.
For those who have problems with painful joints or muscles, moving around in water instead of on land can be much more pleasant. Being in water takes the pressure off bones and muscles and can allow movement or bigger movement without causing pain. For those who really want to get stronger, water provides an overall resistance through which to move. This resistance causes muscles to work harder. The concept is the same when people lift weights to shape up and gain strength. Moving in water is also a great, safe way to improve balance. The brain and body are having to make small adjustments, constantly, to keep you on your feet and resist moving with the current or ebb and flow of the water. These constant, tiny adjustments being made by the feet, legs, and trunk increase reaction time, posture, and coordination. Therefore, balance and safety when standing are greatly improved. All of this movement increases the heart rate as well provides an opportunity to burn calories and improve lung capacity and oxygen in the blood.
Being in the water can have so many benefits. Not only is it a wonderful way to spend quality time with family and friends, but it can also improve physical health. Whether you participate in a formal water exercise class, swim laps, or make up your own routine to do a few times a week, the results can be great. Decreased pain and improvements in strength, balance, coordination and circulation are just a few of the things to expect from this type of exercise.
Amanda Wagner, MSOT
MedLink Georgia Director of Rehabilitation and Wellness