Water Exercises And Water Running

Water exercises may be prescribed as rehabilitation and alternative training for most injuries, unless the person has wounds, eczema or other skin disorders. Usually, a surgical wound requires two weeks of healing and any stitches to be removed before starting water exercises, due to the risk of infections. Water exercising allows an athlete to maintain or improve aerobic and anaerobic capacity if suffering injuries that do not allow full impact on hard surfaces. Water running and work-out exercises can be used as alternative training for most types of injuries, as you can see from the frequent green light in the 'exercise on prescription' summaries in chapter 4. An athlete who is immobilised in one limb can have a plastic brace, which allows water training, instead of a plaster one. Water exercising can improve the endurance and flexibility of asthmatic athletes and people with different disabilities. It is a superb alternative training method for disabled or elderly patients, where large muscle groups can be trained without impact. The low resistance of water creates a low eccentric impact on the lower limbs.

In principle, everything you can do on a floor you can do in water. It is important to devise a programme - not just jump in the water and tumble around. Use either a floating device or jacket that allows the athlete to concentrate on the exercises, rather than on floating; they are therefore able to run even in deep water, without touching the floor. This is quite difficult to start with but after some training to find their balance, it is great. Even better for most injuries is to run on the floor of more shallow water, since the athlete is 'pushing off', albeit with a slight delay - like 'space walking'. This allows training without a float jacket but I recommend some thin shoes to avoid blisters. An athlete can burn as much energy in water exercises as in any other training but must be careful to control dehydration, which may not be felt in the same way as when running on a road.

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Water exercising is recommended for obese unfit people but they may not wish to join a group of people dressed in swimsuits, so their likely compliance must be considered. However, with the huge number of public pools around the country this type of training is accessible to most.

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95-year-old Ann-Margret does not need a gym. She has taken a swim in this Swedish lake almost every day for more than 70 years

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