“What balance exercises done in a pool are the most helpful and which general fitness exercises do you recommend for people working out in their pools?” Harriet S.

The pool can be a great place to exercise, especially if you have sore joints or decreased balance. The water will also serve as a resistance force for strengthening. The buoyancy can serve as a support for more energetic exercises like jumping and jogging.  Not having information on your specific status and fitness, I can give you a couple good starting exercises for balance.

  • Marching in chest deep and then waist deep water. This will assist in working on weight shifting needed for good balance and walking stability.
 
  • Raising up and down on your toes with and without support for balance. Calf muscles are very important stability muscles and give support for the sway that the body does to control balance during movements.
 
  • Single leg balance with the opposite leg moving. This can be challenging but will work on single leg support that is needed for balance.  Using a flotation device for stability may be needed to do this with repetitions.
 

Remember safety, and always have a buddy with you or someone to check on you.  I also recommend water shoes to give you more freedom to move or even jog and not scrape your feet on the pool bottom. They also work as great anti-slip footwear on the pool deck.

Water is a great place to start and to supplement your exercise program, but remember that we don’t live in water. We need to be able to stabilize ourselves on land for our daily function.  It is important to practice outside of the pool setting. Physio Ed. has many classes to assist with your land-based balance work.  I’d recommend the Posture and Balance class as a good place to start.

Enjoy the water and keep moving!

Kathy Doubleday DPT, OCS

Kathy Doubleday DPT, OCS

Dr. Doubleday graduated from the nationally-acclaimed Physical Therapy Doctorate program at the University of Southern California, scoring many academic awards along the way. As well as providing outstanding therapeutic results, Kathy continues to be an advocate for patient rights and access to care.

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