Try Water Aerobics When Back Pain Makes Regular Exercise Too Painful

Water aerobics can help you to stay active when your back pain stops you from participating in more intense forms of exercise. 

water aerobics

Staying active is absolutely vital for people with chronic lower back pain. 

As not only does it reduce your pain.

It also makes you more flexible, physically able and puts you in a more positive frame of mind. ​

However sometimes you can be in so much pain that regular exercise and activities may be too much. 

This is because the force of gravity while exercising can put a big strain on your muscles and joints.​ 

And this can make staying active feel impossible. ​

So how can you stay active if this applies to you? ​

A great solution to this dilemma is to get yourself into the pool. 

As this is the place where gravity can't touch you. ​

The Benefits of Exercising In The Water​

Even dogs love the water!

Exercising in the water is great for you.

And this is especially the case if you suffer from chronic pain.​

Because the buoyancy of the water supports your body as you exercise.

Which takes away the ​strain caused by gravity. 

So you can exercise without the unbearable muscle tightness and tension you may be feeling.

And the lack of strain on your joints also allows you to move them through a greater range of motion than would be possible otherwise.

Which helps to keep them healthy, making you more mobile and physically able outside of the pool too.​

And it's not just the buoyancy effect that makes exercising in the water so good for you.

As the water also provides a mild resistance which is great for strengthening and conditioning the muscles.

So not only are you becoming more mobile by working out in the pool, you are getting stronger too.​

And moving in the water with all the support it provides feels safer and easier​ too which allows your body to relax while exercising.

All of this makes the pool a great place to exercise.

Aquatic therapy is also great for rehabilitation for people who have suffered injuries.

And it's a big help for people with serious joint problems such as osteoarthritis.

Last but not least working out in the water is fun.

These are all reasons that swimming is a really good form of exercise for people with lower back pain.

However if you're not a fan of swimming you can still get a good workout in the water by getting involved with water aerobics.

Why Water Aerobics Is So Good For Your Back Pain

yoga helps back pain

The science behind the benefits of working out in the water for back pain still isn't conclusive.

However there are some studies that point towards them.

For instance, one 2009 review of the studies carried out to date found that therapeutic aqua​tic exercise could be beneficial for people with chronic lower back pain.

So what exactly are the main benefits for us?

​Well firstly exercising in the water gives you a temporary relief from gravity and the strain that it puts on your body.

The buoyancy of the water instead supports your body weight which minimises the weight placed on the spine, putting less stress on it as you exercise.

Secondly, the lack of strain and pressure on your muscles and joints allows you to perform a greater range of motion than you'd be able to achieve outside of the pool.

And this helps to increase your mobility in an environment that minimises the risk of injury ​by doing so.

Thirdly, exercising in the water provides you with ​a great core workout.

As the mild resistance created by the water allows you to strengthen and condition your hips, abs and back muscles.

Which are all essential for supporting and stabilising your spine.

And finally, the water pressure is helpful for strengthening your heart, lungs and improving your circulation.

This will allow you to stay more active outside the pool and also help your muscles to repair and heal.

So great news if land-based exercises are a problem for you.

And while pool-based exercises may not provide as much strengthening as land-based exercises they can still build you up to the point where you may be able to get back to land-based activities at a later date.​

So overall it makes sense to hit the pool if you're in pain.

And now I've told you about the benefits let me explain exactly what water aerobics and aquatic therapy entail.

What is Water Aerobics?

yoga helps back pain

Water aerobics classes will take place in a group setting.

And they are all about getting a good aerobic and strengthening workout in the water.

​You will use exercise equipment during the class which is designed especially for the pool such as aqua dumbbells and floatation belts.

In a way it's like taking an aerobic class or getting a good gym workout without the strain.

So it's a great option for improving your overall fitness when land-based activities feel too much for you.

This makes it popular with ​older people that may be experiencing joint pain or arthritis.

As well as those recovering from injuries.

And water aerobics classes are not just good for your health.

Because they can be great fun too.

As they are a very social and high energy event that is usually accompanied by loud music and a party atmosphere.

Which can be great.

As if you enjoy your workout there is a far higher chance of you sticking to it in the long run.

To get an idea of what kind of things you'll do in an water aerobics class check out the video below with Olympic swimmer Kerri-Anne Payne:​

​Looks good right?

So I'd have no hesitation in recommending a water aerobics class to anyone.

As not only do you get many physical benefits from them, the time spent in the water with a fun group of people will leave you feeling great afterwards too.

What is Aquatic Therapy?

aquatic therapy for back pain

Aquatic therapy needs to be distinguished from water aerobics because it is more of a medical treatment rather than just exercise.

So in general it is more for people with serious back conditions or those rehabilitating after injury.​

It aims to:

  • Build your muscle strength and endurance.
  • Increase your flexibility and range of motion.
  • Improve your balance and co-ordination.
  • Relax you.

This is done through a series of exercises that target your core muscles and get your joints moving through their full rotations.

For an idea of the types of exercises involved, check out the video below:​

These exercises are done in a heated pool sometimes as that can help your body to relax further while also increasing your blood flow.

And aquatic therapy sessions are usually done on a one-to-one basis with a qualified professional rather than being in a class format.​

Which helps as the trainers will usually work with a medical professional (such as an occupational therapist)​ to design an exercise program specifically for you.

So if aquatic therapy sounds like something you might benefit from and you want to find out more there is a good guide on it that you can read by clicking here.

How to Get Started

water aerobics class

The good thing about exercising in the water is that it minimises the risk of injury.

Therefore it's one of the safest activities to get started with if you want to become more active.

And finding a water aerobics class couldn't be easier as most gyms with a swimming pool will run them.

So check with your local pool, make a booking and enjoy! (If you are in the UK, you can do this through PoolFinder by clicking here).​

​As for aquatic therapy this is a little more complicated.

Because this is more like the process involved in booking a physiotherapy session.

But a quick google search for aquatic therapy in your local area should throw up plenty of options to consider.

Just make sure the trainer you find is fully qualified and knows their onions!

Also check with your medical insurance as some providers will cover the cost of aquatic therapy​ in the US.

​And once you have learnt the exercises and techniques there is nothing to stop you from using them by yourself in your local pool.

So maybe do a few sessions, then save money by doing it yourself once you feel confident enough.

​You can find some good ideas of aquatic exercises to do on WikiHow by clicking here.

Rounding Up

Exercising in the water can bring you so many benefits.

This is especially the case for people with arthritis, chronic pain, or the elderly.​

As you can exercise safely without putting a strain on your back.

And it'll reduce your pain, increase your mobility​, and keep your joints healthy and functioning.

Plus it'll leave you feeling great!

So whether you go for one-on-one aquatic therapy or a group water aerobics class, working out in the water is great.

And if that sounds good to you then check out a water aerobics class and start feeling the benefits for yourself today!​

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I'm a Painter and Decorator, psychology graduate, and veteran of 5 spinal surgeries. I want to help my fellow construction workers to fight back against persistent back pain like I have.

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