November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 18

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Turn Up the Heat, Turn Down the Pain
Warm-water therapy pools make exercising easier
By Carrie Madren

F

or thousands of years, people across the globe have turned to warm water for healing and restoration. From Roman, Greek and Turkish baths
to hot springs around the world, warm water has soothed aches and
pains as well as maintained good health.
In modern days, warm-water pools are regular venues for aquatic therapy -
a type of physical therapy that helps people regain mobility and comfort. In
warm-water pools, temperatures range from 88 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit to help
relax muscles, relieve pain, increase blood flow and boost flexibility. In addition,
water's natural buoyancy eases the burden on joints, making it easier to exercise.
Warm-water therapy pools can especially help people recovering from injuries such as fractures, as well as those
suffering from chronic conditions such
as arthritis, fibromyalgia, advanced osteoporosis, back pain, obesity, muscle
spasms and other problems.
As more people experience the
benefits of using warm pools, the
number of warm-water therapy pools
around the U.S. has likely doubled
in the last decade or so, according to
Ryan Nachreiner of Water Technology Inc., which designs warm-water
pools and other aquatic facilities.
As baby boomers age, Nachreiner
continues, we can expect to see even
more warm-water pools in recreation
centers, YMCAs and health clubs.
Relief at Hand
Entering a warm-water pool is more
like gliding into a bathtub than plunging into a cold lap pool.
" In cold water, you tense up, but
when the water's warm, you're comfortable and your muscles loosen up, "
says Gina Gagliardi, a fitness instructor at Fountain View Fitness Center in
the Carol Stream Park District in Carol Stream, Illinois. The center opened
this summer and has a 24,000-gallon,

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Parks & Recreation

47-by-27-foot warm-water therapy
pool that stays between 87 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and ranges from two
to five feet deep.
Pools such as Fountain View offer a
unique place for people with injuries
or who need physical therapy to safely
move and build strength. In many cases, people with chronic conditions or
injuries can't safely exercise on land because of stress to their joints, muscles or
spine. The warmth of the water helps
reduce joint pain and warms muscles
up - all of which means greater range
of motion, improved muscle tone and
increased overall flexibility.
Though warm-water pools alleviate a range of conditions, many peo-

| N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 3 | W W W. N R PA . O R G

ple with arthritis in particular use the
pools regularly, and there's even an
Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program offered around the country.
Arthritis causes swelling and inflammation within the joints, explains Patience White, vice president of public
health policy and advocacy for the
Arthritis Foundation and professor of
medicine and pediatrics at the George
Washington University School of
Medicine and Health Sciences. With
that kind of swelling, the muscles
surrounding the joints have a sort of
spasm, tighten up and ache. To relieve
the pain, " you want to get that joint
moving, " White says, and break the vicious cycle of pain leading to inactivity.
Submersion in water - in combination with medications that relax
muscles - helps unload the joint
from gravity's force as the warmth
relaxes the muscles further.
Water of any temperature, in fact,
offers buoyancy that helps support
the body, takes pressure off of joints
and makes exercises - like leg lifts
- easier. Water also provides a natural resistance that helps tone muscles.
In addition, hydrostatic pressure -
water's pressure from all directions
on the body - helps support joints
and reduces swelling.
Full Health Benefits
Once in the water, people can get
moving to obtain the most health
benefits. Common exercises for
warm-water therapy include gentle
aerobics, Ai-Chi exercises (which focus on breathing techniques, stretching and relaxation), aqua yoga, water



November 2013 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November 2013 - Parks & Recreation

November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 1
November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 2
November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 3
November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 4
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