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Water Exercises and Your Back

Exercise Your Pain Away in the Water


Updated November 18, 2007

Water offers special properties that can make exercising less painful and more fun. If you have a back injury, spinal arthritis, or you are interested in an excellent core strengthener to help prevent back pain, water exercises, also known as aquatic therapy may be just the thing for you.

1. What is Water Exercise?

Water exercise is used in therapeutic settings to mobilize joints, increase range of motion and to develop balance and stability. If a back injury has short circuited your regular workout routine, a water exercise program might be a good alternative during the healing period. It can help you minimize the inevitable loss of fitness that comes from being sidelined.

Water exercise takes advantage of the unique properties of water that serve to decrease pain while working out. For this reason, it is particularly good for people with arthritis, and others who cannot well tolerate weight-bearing.

2. Benefits of Water Exercise

The special properties of water can provide you with excellent benefits if you are trying to heal a back injury, stay fit despite arthrits or vary your normal back exercise routine. Being in water provides a safe environment for working out your muscles and stretching your body. It also allows you to do more than you would on land because it eliminates the constraints imposed by gravity. Water exercise strengthens muscles, decreases pain, increases flexibility, and can be a very fun workout.

3. Try a Water Exercise Routine

As with any fitness activity, there are some basic components to a water exercise session. A water exercise routine should start with a warm up for about 5-10 minutes. One of the easiest things to do to warm up is water walk. Then a series of gradually intensifying strengthening and aerobic exercises should build for about 20-30 minutes, or more if you can handle it. After that you can cool down (yes, you still need to cool down even though you are in the pool), with more water walking. Here is a very basic routine to get you started.

4. Intro to Water Exercise Equipment

Aquatic equipment comes in many shapes and sizes, and fits onto various parts of the body - hands, waist, feet and more. The purpose of aquatic equipment is to augment the special properties of water, and create further exercise benefits. Some pieces of aquatic equipment will keep you afloat so that you can exercise in the deep end of the pool without sinking. Others will increase the resistance the water provides, giving you a harder work out.

5. When Not to Exercise in the Water

Water exercise can provide numerous benefits to back pain sufferers, because it strengthens and stabilizes your lower back, decreases pain and increases joint range-of-motion. But there are some situations when water exercise is not an appropriate activity. Heart disease, history of seizures or an active infection are a few of the yellow caution flags that may indicate is is not a good idea to go in the water for exercise. If you have a medical condition, including fear of water, please consult this list for more information.
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