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Water Exercises for Sports Injuries and Arthritis

February 11, 2016 by Normand Richard, Certified Exercise Physiologist

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Water exercises for sports injuries and arthritis

Being active in a pool opens up a whole different world. There’s the sensation of water on your skin, the buoyancy makes you float, everything happens at slower speeds, and you’re exercising in a safe, supervised setting.

Exercising in the pool is a great activity for everyone, and especially helpful if you’re injured (been there done that!) or have a chronic health condition like arthritis.

Pool Running

If you have been injured from running or other sports, getting into the pool is a good way to maintain fitness while you’re on the mend. How to run in the water:

  • Wear a floatation belt to keep upright and mimic a running motion in the water. Use the deep end as you do not want your feet to strike the pool floor.
  • Aim to keep your head upright and back straight, avoid leaning forward, and keep your legs going at a high turnover rate; read more on form here.
  • Like a regular run, do a 5-10 minute warm-up, your workout, and then a 5-10 minute cool down.
  • Because pool running can be monotonous as you’re not actually going anywhere, here are some tips to help the time fly by:
    • throw in some intervals and alternate running at vigorous and moderate intensity (depending on your ability) with an active rest period of light intensity
    • run with a buddy
    • invest in a waterproof case for your music player and waterproof earbuds
    • go during quieter hours when you’re less likely to bump into people swimming laps

Water Exercises (also known as aquasize, aqua fitness or water aerobics)

This is a great way to be active if you’re looking for low impact physical activity. It is a good choice if you have arthritis as it can help you stay active while minimizing impact on your joints. What it’s all about:

  • In these classes, an instructor who is on the pool deck guides you through a warm-up, cardiovascular and muscle strengthening exercises, and then a cool down.
  • Classes can take place in the shallow or deep end of the pool, are usually done to music and are made up of people looking for low-impact activity like you.
  • Some classes are more specialized – aquatic centres often have classes specific to those with arthritis.

If you want to be active there’s always a way. For many acute and chronic health conditions, water exercises are  definitely a great choice. Call the Physical Activity Line for advice or if you have questions: 1-877-725-1149.

Related blogs

Keeping Yourself Healthy and Injury Free at Home
Ensure Success from the Start Line
How Physical Activity Can Help With Arthritis

Recommended resources

HealthLinkBC: Water Exercise
Sport MedBC: Pool Running

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