Knee water therapy exercises are increasing in popularity. Knee therapy exercises in the water are suitable for people of all ages and sizes, and for various levels of injury severity. The buoyancy of the water takes some of the weighted pressure off your joints, allowing you to perform knee exercise that you might not be able to do on land. There are a variety of water exercises that will benefit your knee. The Cleveland Clinic has a premier water therapy program and recommends people with wounds, seizures and incontinence avoid this type of exercises. It is a good idea to discuss your knee water therapy exercise with your physician or physical therapist before beginning a new exercise program.
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Aqua aerobics consists of cardiovascular exercises in the water. The aerobics can be done in shallow water or progressed to deeper water to add more difficulty. Specific aqua aerobic exercises for your knee include squats, lunges, calf raises and rotations. Begin slowly with 10 repetitions and move up to multiple sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise. Andrea Salzman, an aqua aerobics expert, cautions to “avoid resisted knee extensions” when recovering from knee surgery.
Aqua jogging can be done in shallow or deep water as a knee therapy exercise. In shallow water you can actually march or jog around the pool without the damaging impact of running on the ground. In deeper water, you can wear an “aqua belt” that helps you float while you jog. In this scenario, your feet never touch the bottom of pool so there is virtually no impact on your knees. Try interval training in deep water by walking slowly in place for 60 seconds followed by running in place for 15 seconds and repeat the interval for 10 minutes.
Therapy pools use various strength jets to enhance water exercises. For example, some therapy pools provide such strong jets, your knee gets exercise just standing and trying to maintain balance. You can then advance to walking then running in place against the current. Other therapy pools are much like hot tubs where gentle jets can be used to massage the knee and provide a comfortable environment for stretching exercises. Often these jetted pools are set at a higher temperature than regular pools. Sit on the bench or side of the jetted tub so your knee is being hit by jet streams. Then, slowly extend your leg. Repeat this exercise 15 times per leg.