By Land or By Sea: Why water may not be the best for all rehab needs.

Water-based exercise or therapy has many benefits, including easing of stiff joints and muscles, improving endurance, reducing pain, and possibly enhancing your sense of well-being, mood and sleep quality.

But is it the answer when strengthening is required to recover from an illness or injury?  A recent review and analysis of numerous studies on the effectiveness of aquatic-based exercises in improving lower limb strength in people with musculoskeletal conditions indicates that it may not yield the results at the same rate it is being practiced currently.

The review studies indicated that there was no difference in the strength of the studied lower limb muscle groups between aquatic exercise and no exercise.  The analysis concluded that there is inadequate application of resistance in water exercise which likely leads to minimal to no strength gains.  More research is needed to help determine if using methods of greater resistance in the water along with appropriate resistance training principles can be more effective at improving muscle strength.

The take-away message from this may be that if your physical therapist or doctor feels your condition needs strengthening to improve, your best bet may be land-based therapy or a combination of land and water-based treatment.

Thank you for reading.  Stay active and give us a call today to see if we can help.

Stephany Primrose, PT

Reference: Effectiveness of Aquatic Exercise in Improving Lower Limb Strength in Musculoskeletal Conditions: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 2016


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