If you have osteoarthritis, advanced osteoporosis, or serious muscle tears, you may be a prime candidate for aquatic physical therapy. People who suffer from these conditions often find it difficult to exercise with traditional gym equipment because of the stress it puts on their bodies. Exercising in water helps to ease the pain while still providing enough resistance to build significant muscle. Take a look at the three aquatic exercises below to see if an H2O-style workout is right for you.
To get started with aquatic exercises, you'll want to begin in the shallow end of the pool with the water about waist-high. Begin walking in as straight a line as possible across the pool, making sure that your heel touches the bottom of the pool before your toes do. This allows the muscles in the back of your leg to be properly stretched. Also concentrate on bringing your knee up as high as possible (ideally high enough so that your lifted thigh is parallel to the pool bottom) while still maintaining balance and an upright position. Remember, don't rush. Take as long as you need to walk across the width of the pool.
Even as simple an aerobic exercise as jumping jacks can put a lot of stress on the joints and ligaments of the knees and ankles. However, doing jumping jacks in water is a different story. Stand in a calm part of the pool where your feet can touch the ground and the water comes up to just above your shoulders. Stand with your arms at your sides and your feet placed closely together. Then raise your arms from your sides to be level with the water, while simultaneously separating your legs as you would with a normal jumping jack. This motion should buoy you briefly, and you can then resume your original position. Doing jumping jacks in the water will get your heart rate going and strengthen your core.
These exercises can be performed at the edge of the shallow end of a pool, and are great for those with serious leg injuries. Simply stand next to the wall with the water up to your chest, feet together, and one hand holding on to the side of the pool. Then raise your outside leg away from the wall so that it forms a 45 degree angle with your other leg. Resume your original position after a couple of seconds and repeat with your other leg.