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Work out with water

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Aquatic therapy using water’s natural properties can help you recover faster, says Dr. Amit Kohli

With the Internet and the rapid profusion of information online, sometimes it’s hard to keep up with how best to take care of your body. Internationally, water-based exercises have taken off as people have become increasingly interested in the healing basis of using water’s natural properties.

Since the weight of your body is one-tenth of that on land, exercising in water is easier and more efficacious. When it comes to the benefits of working out in the water, there are many. Some, like buoyancy and water temperature may seem obvious in hindsight, while others like viscosity and hydrostatic pressure are more technical.

So, while buoyancy helps to decrease the pressure on the joints when working out in the water, a warmer water temperature helps the body to relax and for those recovering from an ailment, with pain reduction. This is especially helpful for those who are dealing with things like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), osteoporosis, spondylitis, fractures and more.

Viscosity is probably the single most well-known reason that people are known to exercise in water. Doctors, physiotherapists and especially those engaged in sporting activities are all known to be proponents of its effect on muscles and general wear and tear.

Working out in water is a way for the body to get tactile feedback, as the fluid acts against the skin, much the same way that smart phones today have built in vibration mechanisms to allow your senses to know when you have chosen a command on screen. This feedback soothes the body and relaxes muscles and neurons, for the kind of mental and physical stimulation that is hard to recreate.

Within the sphere of aqua therapy, there are various techniques that help in muscle relaxation, stress relief and circulation. Ancient Japanese therapies such as Watsu (Water Shiatsu) and Ai-Chi are passive and active relaxation techniques that are practiced on everyone including infants, adults, senior citizens and the differently abled. Those in physical pain or under stress can relax with Watsu . Ai-Chi, a gentle form of exercise, is highly recommended for arthritic cases, joint stiffness, balance and motor control. Since endorphins, or so called happy hormones are released, it plays a key role in uplifting your mood. The Halliwick technique helps in strengthening and core stability while the Badragaz ring method is for neuro-muscular disorders, coordination, strengthening and mobility.

Whether recovering from an injury or just to better your body’s post-workout recuperation, alternating water-based exercise with running and hitting the gym is a great idea. However, those in their early first trimester of pregnancy, suffering from vertigo, epilepsy, skin allergy, otitis media or any sensory loss are advised to consult their doctor before undertaking aquatic therapy.  Patients having a recent history of myocardial infarction or fever over 100 degrees too are advised the same.

Dr. Amit Kohli is Co-founder and Chief Physiotherapist, AquaCentric Therapy

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