Water exercise is used as a therapeutic treatment for all sorts of disorders and conditions. There are various reasons for this – water provides support and buoyancy where air does not. For some people with chronic and/or temporary health conditions, exercising in the air may be too painful and/or difficult.
Because of this difficulty, those with health conditions may refrain from exercising at all, which may make their physical problems worse.
What health conditions can be helped by aquatic exercise? Here are some of them that, according to research, respond positively to water exercise.
If you have osteoarthritis, movement of any sort can be very painful. Depending on where your pain is located and which joints are affected, the impact and motion involved in exercising can be excruciating. Hard floors, even with pads, may make even gentle exercises like Yoga painful. But water exercise reduces the pull of gravity on your body and joints, and you no longer have to bear all of your own weight when standing and/or moving.
The fact that you don’t have to support your own weight or and weight of your limbs helps a great deal with balance and range of motion. For example, if you have osteoarthritis in your hips, moving your leg out, up, and so forth means you have to strain your muscles to hold up your leg. This limits how much motion and movement your joint receives. With aquatic exercise, your leg would be supported by the buoyancy of the water, allowing your hip joint to move in a greater range of motion with less strain.
2. High Blood Pressure and Heart Recovery
Sources say that the heart rate maintained during water exercise is actually a lower rate than during the same amount of time spent doing exercise on land. In other words, half an hour of any exercise gets your heart rate up; it just tends to be a slightly lower number of beats per minute when the exercise is in the water. What does this have to do with high blood pressure? As it turns out, this “gentle” way of raising the heart rate is less stressful for those recovering from heart surgery – the heart gets exercise, but without too much strain too soon.
High blood pressure may benefit from this slower raised heart rate as well. In addition, water exercise has been shown to reduce stress, which can be a significant benefit for those with high blood pressure.
Various reports say that water exercise reduces blood glucose and reduces the risk of those complications that sometimes accompany diabetes, such as high blood pressure and poor circulation. Water exercise is purported to be an effective treatment for diabetes as well as a preventative for those not yet diagnosed (or diagnosed with a pre-diabetic condition).
Many diabetics struggle with their weight, and water exercise helps burn calories (especially due to the resistance of the water). More calories burned than calories taken in means weight loss. That’s not all – the support offered by water helps ease the discomfort of moving an overweight body during exercise.
4. Muscle Injury
Without the strain of supporting the body’s weight, muscle injury is said to be more effectively treated. Muscles can be targeted and toned without as much strain on the joint and skeleton. Also, flexibility is enhanced and promoted during water exercise since your range of motion is increased. Sources say that water exercise increases circulation all over, and working the specific muscle that’s been injured can increase the circulation right where it counts.