Today’s guest post is provided by HydroWorx, one of our favorite providers of aquatic therapy equipment.
In the recent romantic comedy How Do You Know, Reese Witherspoon plays a softball player who just got cut from her team and finds herself in a love triangle with Owen Wilson, a baseball player, and Paul Rudd (love him!), a business man who is being indicted. (It’s a cute movie if you haven’t seen it!). With the movie having a bit of an emphasis on sports and training, one scene shows Wilson running on an underwater treadmill. While this moment was made for the big screen, the truth is, therapy pools like this one have very real benefits. Let me explain…
When people experience an injury, their sensitivity to pain can naturally increase. Joints and other specific areas might ache. A major benefit of treatment in a therapy pool is that it reduces the effects of weight and gravity on the body. Based on the depth of the exercise pool and the person’s height, that individual becomes between 50 and 90 percent weightless in water. Effects on the joints are lessened, offering an individual the opportunity to exercise without causing more pain to problem areas. (It’s kind of like what FBG Jenn did, just under water!)
Curious about why this type of therapy works? There are several reasons. In addition to the buoyancy and physical support provided by the water, pools are also heated, and that relaxes muscles and improves range of motion. The water also provides hydrostatic pressure, circulating blood from the legs to the heart and frequently reducing swelling in the feet and ankles. Finally, the resistance created by the water helps improve muscle tone without the jarring impact sometimes caused by exercising on land. Pretty cool, right?
Well, if you’re the type who can’t bear the idea of not running or exercising even though you’ve experienced an injury (I feel your pain!), it might be worthwhile to explore whether a therapy pool is a good match for you.
Treadmills in particular are a well-known type of aquatic therapy equipment. Capitalizing on the benefits of water-based exercise, people of extremely athletic or even frail conditions may be eligible for this exercise option. Underwater therapy can be used to meet a range of abilities. (Truly. Even canines take advantage of underwater treadmills!) If you think this would benefit you, talk to your doctor. Facilities offering this type of treatment are usually able to accommodate individuals with varying needs using devices such as lifts to help people in and out of the water or treadmills for those capable of using these machines.
If you’re injured, why not try hopping in the pool? —Kristina Zelisko