One of the best ways to get a full body exercise is in the pool. Swimming is low impact, has less of a risk of falling, does not involve weights, and allows for a wider range of motion. Not only do these benefits affect the safety of working out but they also increase the effectiveness of the workout. Aquatic exercise is known to alleviate pain and improve overall quality of life, especially for those that suffer from musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis. The one part of the body that greatly benefits from aquatic exercise is the spine and here we will discuss 5 exercises that provide this benefit.
While this exercise is a basic that you do when first learning how to swim, it is effective in getting the body warmed up and stretching the muscles in preparation for more intense exercises. What you want to do is hold on to the side of the pool while scissor kicking. The best way to do this is to be face down with your body parallel to the pool floor.
For this exercise, you want to stand with your feet on the pool floor and your back to the wall of the pool. Your arms will be hanging relaxed in the water while you slowly tuck in your tailbone and pelvis until your back is rounded out. Your back should be parallel to the pool wall due to you pulling in your abs and pushing your hips forward. Hold this position for a few seconds then release.
While in the shallow end of the pool, stand with your feet planted on the floor and your arms relaxed at your sides. Then, start marching in place. Every time you bring a leg up, bring your knee closer to your chest while you keep your balance in the pool. As your back gets stronger, you should try getting your legs closer to waist level without bending your knees.
For this exercise you will need a pool noodle or something comparable. Hold the pool noodle directly in front of you then lean forward so that your back is straight, and your stomach is semi-parallel to the pool floor. While doing this, keep your feet anchored to the pool floor and your elbows locked. This will all form a semi-plank. You should hold this position for as long as 60 seconds.
Pool Push Ups
Push-ups are one of the best ways to strengthen your back and core. You can achieve a similar effect of an on-land push-up in the pool. You will do this by standing in the shallow end of the pool facing the wall. Then, you will put your hands on the pool wall. Press your body weight against the wall and lower your body towards the wall by bending your elbows. Hold this for 3 seconds then return to original position.
As with most exercise, you should start slow and build up to more repetitions as you get better with these exercises. If you feel that you have more questions about any back pain you are experiencing, feel free to reach out to our office and schedule an appointment!