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Water Rehabilitation Exercises

author image Michelle Zehr
Michelle Zehr started writing professionally in 2009. She has written on health, fitness, fashion, interior design, home decorating,sports and finance for several websites. Zehr possesses a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Arts in professional writing from Chatham University and a graduate certificate in health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania.
Water Rehabilitation Exercises
A physical therapist sits with a patient next to the swimming pool. Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Water rehabilitation exercise allows you to exercise and rehabilitate your body without the jolting and sometimes painful experience of exercising on dry land. The buoyancy of water frees your joints from impact, according to The Stretching Institute. By practicing water rehabilitation exercises, you can maintain a degree of fitness while recovering from your injury. However, always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program, especially while rehabilitating.


Water walking can be useful for spine and lower extremity injuries as well as arthritis. Walking in water that is chest high will help you to maintain your fitness levels as well as heal an injury. Walking forward and backward can help improve your condition without stressing your joints. For an added challenge, use water weights or swing your arms while you walk. Walk in water for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, or as tolerated.

Shoulder Flexion and Abduction

Performing arm reaches while in water can help with maintain or improve your shoulders' range of motion. Sit on the bottom step to a pool or stand so that water is just above your shoulder level. For flexion, raise your arms straight up out of the pool as high as you can. Slowly lower your arms back into the water and repeat. Complete one set of 10 repetitions. For abduction -- moving your arms away from the midpoint of your body -- position your arms at your sides. Slowly raise your arms away from your body with your palms facing down. Raise your arms to your shoulder level. Slowly lower your arms and repeat. Complete one set of 10 repetitions.

Leg Raises

This exercise can help to strengthen the muscles in your legs, hips and lower back. Perform this exercise while holding onto the side of a pool. Stand on your left leg, your left hip close to the pool wall. Hold onto the side of the pool with your left hand. Your knees should be slightly bent. Slowly swing your right leg out to the side. Hold it there for a few seconds. Lower your leg and repeat. Complete one set of 10 repetitions. Relax and repeat on the other side.


The superman exercise stretches your shoulder and back muscles. Stand in water that is approximately chest deep. Hold onto the side of the pool with both hands. Start with your feet planted firmly on the bottom of the pool. Slowly lift your feet behind you until you're floating on your stomach. Extend your arms so that your elbows are straight. Your legs should be extended as well. At this point, you should resemble superman. Hold this pose for 10 to 20 seconds. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Repeat one set of five repetitions of this exercise.

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