Pools Offer Fitness and Relief for Older Adults

While drinking plenty of water is critical to life, health and healing, simply submerging your body in water (i.e., a pool) opens up opportunities for relief and fitness for those who otherwise may have difficulty exercising.

This is especially important for aging adults and those with chronic conditions, say physical therapists and other health care professionals.

“When you do an exercise on land, like jogging, you get an impact on your joints,” said Torben Hersbork, an osteopath from the Central London Osteopathy and Sports Injury Clinic. “But, when you exercise in the water, you don’t have any gravity forcing your body weight down onto your joints.”

Because of this, experts say water exercise is ideal for people dealing with issues related to strength, flexibility, balance, sore joints and pain. This includes people recovering from injury or surgery, as well as those with chronic conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes.

The buoyancy of waist-deep water, for example, can support around half our body weight, while neck-deep water can reduce body weight by up to 90 percent. Such reduction in weight and impact on the joints can help people who may experience difficulty standing, balancing and exercising on land to move more freely – and often with less pain.

In addition, water offers 12 times the resistance of the air around us. Because of this added resistance, movement and exercise while submerged in a pool can help build overall strength and stability in the body.

“If you are over 50, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends moderately intense aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day, four times a week, plus resistance strength training, plus balance and flexibility training,” said Mary E. Sanders, a researcher at the University of Nevada (Reno). “A swimming pool provides the one place where you can do all of that at the same time without the need for a lot of machines – at your own pace and more comfortably.”

One study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise back in 2007 showed that older women who regularly participated in a pool-based exercise program performed better in daily tasks than others who exercised similarly on land. The women in the study, for example, improved their walking speed by 16 percent, their agility by 20 percent, and their ability to walk stairs by 22 percent.

Another study published earlier in the same publication (2002) showed that combining aqua aerobics with strength training while in the pool helped participants increase their strength by 27 percent in the quads, 40 percent in the hamstrings, and about 10 percent in the upper body.

Even when people suffer from common chronic diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis, water exercise can help improve the use of affected joints while decreasing overall pain.

“Exercise is an integral part of any arthritis treatment program, as it helps to strengthen and stabilize the joints, preventing further damage,” wrote Andrew Cole, M.D., an author on Arthritis-Health.com. “Water therapy is an excellent option for patients with osteoarthritis of the knees, hip osteoarthritis, and spinal osteoarthritis due to the decreased pressure placed on the joints.”

Those who feel pool exercise or aquatic therapy may help them improve fitness levels or overall functional abilities should first contact their physical therapist for professional guidance. A physical therapist can help identify your greatest weaknesses and needs, then develop a pool fitness plan that specifically addresses these needs and your personal goals.

 

SOURCES:

Arthritis-Health.com: Water Therapy for Osteoarthritis
https://www.arthritis-health.com/treatment/exercise/water-therapy-osteoarthritis

AAPR: Making a Splash with Water Workouts
https://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/info-2007/water_workouts.html

AARP: Water Works Aquatic Activity: A Painless Way to Stay Fit
https://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/info-12-2008/water_works_aquatic_activity_a_painless_way_to_stay_fit.html

“Take It to the Pool: Benefits of Aquatic Exercise for Arthritis”
https://fox11online.com/sponsored/osmsgb/take-it-to-the-pool-benefits-of-aquatic-exercise-for-arthritis

Daily Mail: How Can Aqua-Exercises Help You Slim?
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-105285/How-aqua-exercises-help-slim.html

Cleveland Clinic: Benefits of Water-Based Exercise
https://health.clevelandclinic.org/benefits-of-water-based-exercise/

CDC: Health Benefits of Water-Based Exercise
https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/health_benefits_water_exercise.html

WebMD: Water Exercise for Seniors
https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/water-exercise-seniors#1

 

Vallejo

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Friday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

 

Jeremy Faust, MPT, CSCS, Clinic Director

Jeremy received his Masters of Physical Therapy degree from Loma Linda University in 2003. He obtained his Certified Sports and Conditioning Specialist from the NSCA in 2005. He has focused his work in the out-patient therapy setting for the majority of his career. He has taken many continuing education courses over the years with emphasis on the Mulligan Concept, Kinesio taping, manual therapy, and neurological rehabilitation.

Jeremy believes in treating the patient as a whole and finding the true cause of the problem prior to treatment. He prides himself on treating each patient as an individual and providing them with education on how to prevent future injuries. He enjoys exercising, playing all kinds of sports, and cheering for his favorite sports teams.

Marcus Ramos, PT

Marcus graduated at Carrington College in Pleasant hill, CA. He has 3 years of experience working in orthopedic outpatient practices in Vallejo. Marcus specializes in orthopedic and sports physical therapy, and has taken continuing education credits involving manual therapy, Kinesio Taping and Mulligan techniques. He is also an active competitor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and submission grappling; a hobby which allows him to relate to athletes trying to return to their respective sports. Marcus believes that one of the most satisfying aspects of being a physical therapist is seeing patients return to their previous level of function.

Lary Liwanag, PT

Lary earned his physical therapy degree in Angeles University in the Philippines. He has been treating and caring for patients for over 20 years and places emphasis on a thorough evaluation, manual therapy skills and patient education. He enjoys one-on-one interaction with his patients as they progress through their rehabilitation. He loves spending time with his family friends and enjoys cycling, mountain biking, basketball.

Linda Camilleri, OTR, HTC San Jose State University

Linda graduated from San Jose State University in 1987 with a BS in Occupational Therapy. She started her work in hand therapy at North Bay Hospital under the supervision of a Certified Hand Therapist in 1992. She spent 7 years there before moving on to Grove Andersen, Ghiringhellii where she has worked independently for 15 years with a variety of Acute, Overuse and Chronic hand diagnoses. Her case load consists of private pay industrial and partnership patients. She received her Hand Therapy and Physical Agent Modalities Certification from the Board of Occupational Therapy in 2003. She enjoys spending her free time gardening and in the out of doors hiking and skiing especially in the Sierras.

Ann Natali-Mendoza, PT, DPT, CSCS

Ann grew up in the small town of Chester, CA where she played high school tennis, soccer, and was on the ski team. She went on to get her undergraduate degree in Psychology at University of San Francisco. Ann then moved to Orange County where she completed her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Chapman University. Since graduation, Ann has worked as a traveling PT in Arizona, and at various outpatient clinics in the Bay Area. She enjoys working with a variety of populations and levels of function, helping patients reach their maximum potential. Ann has taken many continuing education courses including Performance Movement Techniques by Rocktape, as well as Mulligan and Maitland manual therapy courses. Ann has also completed training to become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), and plans to begin a yearlong Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapy program (COMT) this spring. During her free time, Ann practices yoga and enjoys hiking and camping with her husband and dog. She continues to play tennis, and ski (when it’s not too cold) and is currently trying to learn how to golf, although she has yet to make it past the driving range.

Benicia

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

 

Jeremy Faust, MPT, CSCS, Clinic Director

Jeremy received his Master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Loma Linda University in 2003. He obtained his certification as a Certified Sports and Conditioning Specialist from the NSCA in 2005. He has focused his work in the outpatient therapy setting for the majority of his career. He has taken many continuing education courses over the years with emphasis on the Mulligan Concept, Kinesiotaping, manual therapy, and neurological rehabilitation.

Jeremy believes in treating the patient as a whole and finding the true cause of the problem prior to treatment. He prides himself on treating each patient as an individual and providing them with education on how to prevent future injuries. He enjoys exercising, playing all kinds of sports, and cheering for his favorite sports teams.

Christina Merkl, PT, DPT

Christina is originally from upstate NY and obtained her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University at Buffalo. After working for 3 years in New York, she moved to Phoenix, AZ where she had the opportunity to work with several high-level athletes and learn several Manual Therapy approaches. She has now made the Bay Area her home and enjoys working with all populations. Christina enjoys being active and spending time with her husband and their 2 boys.

Eydee Mazenko, PTA, CMT

Eydee received her Associates of Science degree in Physical Therapy in 1998. She has spent the past 20 years working in the outpatient orthopedic setting. She has taken many continuing education courses over the years. Her passion is in manual therapy and she is an Advanced John Barnes Myofascial Release therapist. She is dedicated to health and wellness and integrates Pilates and yoga into rehabilitation. In her free time, she enjoys competitive sailing, cycling, and hiking.