Water Guidelines

Guidelines & Precautions

Work to the point of tension not pain: Your muscles and body should feel the effort but the effort should not be painful.

The two hour pain rule applies: Especially with low back patients if you have more pain after two hours you probably attempted to do too much during the exercise session. If you experience pain, stop exercising.

Work toward good muscle balance: Most muscle comes in pairs. One of the pairs is usually stronger than the other. We should strengthen and stretch both muscles in the pair but plan to strengthen the weak.

The knees and elbows should always be slightly bent or “unlocked”: Avoid clenching your facial muscles, jaws, arms, hands, or anything else. Allow everything to relax and move with the legs.

Avoid jerky movements: Move slowly enough that the exercises are smooth and controlled.

Breathe naturally and comfortably: Do not hold your breath during any of the exercises.

Use good body alignment: When the body is in good mechanical alignment all the forces acting upon it are balanced. When a deviation from good postural alignment exists in one area there is always deviation in another area. When body segments are aligned, there is less likelihood of strain in the muscles and ligaments.

Helpful Hints

  • Let your shoulders drop away from your ears. Shoulders move up from stress so relax the shoulders and upper back muscles.
  • Think about lifting your rib cage.
  • Imagine a helium balloon holding your head up.
  • Imagine a string coming out of the top of your head and lifting the weight of your head for you.
  • Move easily and naturally through the water. Trying to lengthen your stride during the entire program can cause back stress. You will usually be able to tell if you are trying to move too far or too fast, you will lean forward.
  • Keep imagining how you look from the front view and from the side view. Simply thinking of yourself standing tall will help keep you in alignment.
  • Use good shoes that are designed for aquatic exercise or aerobics protect you from impact shock, protect you from slipping, and protect you from rubbing the bottom of your feet raw. Cushioned shoes will help absorb some of the impact and make the workout kinder to your back. Shoes should also grip the bottom of the pool. That will help alleviate any possibility of slip induced back pain.