Gravity works in one direction: down. We spend every minute of every day operating under the force of gravity, which, for the most part, is a good thing.
However, when it comes to our muscles and joints, sometimes relieving some of that gravitational force can be helpful in our attempt to repair tissues and build strength. Since space tourism opportunities are limited and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (none of which is covered by extended health), it's worthwhile to explore other possibilities.
Although slightly less flashy than a voyage into outer space, a trip to your local community pool might be a more realistic and equally advantageous option. Water’s unique properties allow for an exercise or therapeutic experience that is distinct from land-based alternatives. The warmth of the water and the added support it provides the body makes it an ideal medium for therapeutic exercise.
Here are just a few of the benefits that aquatic therapy has to offer:
1. A Balanced approach to muscular conditioning
The viscosity of water challenges muscles on both sides of moving joints and in all planes and movement directions. This helps build strength, coordination, and stability.
2. Less impact
In water, the impact on your joints can be significantly reduced by adjusting the depth at which you’re exercising. What that means is the deeper your body is submerged, the less impact your body incurs. This allows you to gradually load the joints, thereby minimizing the chance of injuries associated with impact and joint strain.
3. It challenges and improves balance
There is no resting position in water. Courtesy of the turbulence that is inherently present, muscles have to work constantly to stabilize the body against unwanted movement. This can help build the core muscles and overall stability, which can help in the prevention of falls and improve overall coordination.
4. It increases circulation
On land, gravity pulls blood toward the feet, meaning that the cardiovascular system has to work against it in order to return blood to the heart. Alternatively, in water, the minimal effects of gravity allow the heart to pump more efficiently and less frequently, decreasing cardiovascular stress and making blood more readily available for repairs and healing.
5. It Provides extra support
One of the biggest advantages that water boasts is its naturally supportive environment. For a lot of people, especially those with injuries to their lower extremities, fear of falling can be a major deterrent. In water, if you do happen to stumble or fall, you might get your hair and face wet, but that’s about it. Water allows you to have small successes early-on, and build your confidence for land exercise.
So what should you expect when you do aquatic therapy at Tall Tree?
FIrst, you'll have an initial assessment with one of our superlative physiotherapists, after which a personalized pool program will be developed to meet your goals and work with your body.
The next visit will be in the local pool, where our aquatic exercise professional will do a 60-minute session, either one-on-one, or with a group.
There's flexibility with scheduling, and you'll go home with handouts and the know-how to do some aquatic exercises on your own.
Another nice perk is that aquatic therapy supervised by a Physiotherapist is covered by many extended health plans, while space travel is patently not.