Friday 8 February 2013

Aquatic Exercise and Back Pain

The special properties of water can provide you with excellent benefits if you are trying to heal a back injury. 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 by eliminating the constraints imposed by gravity.
Water exercise is done in shallow, mid-deep and deep water, depending upon your level of conditioning and the goals of your workout.


Muscle Strengthening

Water exercise can strengthen back, ab and hip muscles, all key for a healthy spine. The flow of water resists movement, and functions similarly to weight training: it gets your muscles strong.Being immersed in water places pressure all over your body. To build strength, you must work your muscles against this pressure.


Increasing Joint Range of Motion

The buoyancy of the water helps take the load off your joints. It creates a significant degree of weightlessness, allowing you to perform movements with ease. To develop range of motion, the goal is to take each body part through its full path of motion. However, even with the weightlessness provided by the water, it is best to begin gently and slowly to avoid re-injury.


Core Stabilization

The pool is a great place to work on low back and core strengthening. Exercises that work the hips are good for stabilizing the low back. Balance exercises in the water will cause all muscles in your trunk to work to hold you upright.


Stay Fit While Your Heal Your Back Injury

Has your doctor or physical therapist advised you to avoid weight bearing and/or high impact exercise until your back heals? Many active people who are injured fret over lost time at the gym. But by substituting your normal routine with water workouts, you can minimize the loss of fitness due to the reduced activity. You can also use the opportunity to get strong in the right places, such as ab, back and hip muscles. Deep water exercises wearing a flotation device and using other pieces of aquatic equipment can help you continue to get strong even through periods of reduced activity. Because you are not doing weight bearing exercises when you workout in the water, the chances of aggravating your injury is greatly reduced.

Monday 4 February 2013

Physiological Effects of Exercise in the Water

Aquatic training provides an exercise modality for fitness and rehabilitation. The properties of water provide support, resistance and assistance in a training program. An aquatic training program can decrease compression, vibration and torsional forces that occur when training on land. The properties of water influence the body during exercise and at rest. Here are just a few examples.


Buoyancy lets participants experience a partial-floating feeling when entering the pool. The water creates pressure and pushes a person up, which is valuable for a person who does not want to place his whole body weight on a specific body part. The deeper the water, the less weight one has to support with his own body. The buoyancy of water reduces the "weight" of a person by up to 90 percent depending on body composition, muscular structure and depth of water, which reduces stress on joints and connective tissue. Buoyancy can be used to aid or resist exercises depending on the desired effect. Buoyancy assists individuals with lower-body or spinal injuries, pregnant individuals and those with physical limitations.

Hydrostatic pressure

Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure exerted by the water on an object immersed in the water. The deeper an object is submerged, the more pressure there is on that object. Using hydrostatic pressure is used do decrease excessive edema or swelling and is also beneficial for breathing. The hydrostatic pressure on the chest wall resists muscles that expand the chest for breathing, increasing the capacity to inhale oxygen out of the water.


Viscosity is resistance between the water molecules, effecting how it flows. Water is 790 times more viscous and provides 12 times the resistance than the air normal exercise is performed in. This provides ways to create resistance without overloading muscles or joints. Moving through the water, a body creates drag as water molecules attempt to "stick" to the body, while also trying to stick to other water molecules. Because of the water's viscosity, equipment used will increase the resistance increasingly with size. Increasing the speed of an exercises will also increase the resistance of the exercise.

Thermal regulation through convection

One factor associated with exercising in water is the ability to regulate body temperature. Optimal water temperature for aquatic exercise is between 80 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Water below 78 degrees may not be appropriate for exercise as it may impede the ability to maintain optimal body temperature. Water temperatures above 88 degrees may be too warm and speed up fatigue. When the body is submerged in water, heat loss via conduction is 26 times greater compared to a similar air temperature.