Aqua Yoga For Back Pain
Stretching in the pool is beneficial for and can be practiced by individuals of all fitness levels. Buoyancy supports the body for better range of motion, while moving against the natural resistance of the water improves strength.
So you might be wondering, can this gentle and low-impact exercise really help with your low back pain? The answer is Yes!
The Benefits of Aquatic Exercises
In fact, when researchers investigated the effects of aquatic strength training on health and fitness of postmenopausal women, they discovered significant physiological benefits. Of great importance to those with back pain, findings showed that aquatic resistance exercises may provide more benefits to individuals who would be more sensitive to heavier loading or impact which may occur when training on dry land with certain devices and exercises .
Buoyancy and resistance make water an ideal environment for:
- Improving flexibility
- Decreasing risk of injury and chronic low back pain
- Reducing stiffness
- Improving muscle balance and postural awareness
- Enhancing joint health and decreasing likelihood of degenerative joint disease
What is Stretch Fusion?
Stretch Fusion is a workout format that combines dynamic movement with Yoga based exercises. Individual poses are paired with active movement to maintain your body temperature as you complete the routine. This unique approach to flexibility utilizes the water’s magical properties, buoyancy and resistance, to achieve better results. Not only will you be more flexible but you can reduce stress, increase self-esteem and help free yourself from joint and muscle pain.
Check out this video to learn the Stretch Fusion: Yoga Exercises for Back Pain
Aqua Yoga Exercises for Back Pain
Start your workout with water walking. To prepare the joints walk in 6 directions. Forward and backwards (2-3 minutes), followed by lateral marching traveling sideways across the pool (2-3 minutes) finishing with traveling in a circle going clockwise and counterclockwise (2-3 minutes).
After warming up try these exercises inspired by Yoga postures Warrior I and Warrior II for whole body flexibility and strength.
Warrior I with Rotational Reach
Begin standing in Warrior I posture (front lunge) with the right foot forward. Try reaching the left hand just below the surface of the water behind the body and return. After 5-10 repetitions, try the same thing with the other hand reaching behind. Use your back foot to serve as a pivot allowing your hips to follow the reaching hand. As the hand and hips move together, it helps to strengthen the abs and back. To mix it up, alternate reaching with the right and left or even try moving both hands at the same time.
Warrior II with Rotational Reach
Using a Warrior II stance (or side lunge) try the same reaching patterns as you did with Warrior I. The reaching is similar but notice how the variation in foot position creates a different stretch throughout the body. You may feel it more in your inner thighs or back depending on where your body is stiff.
Reaching with Intensity Variations
Now go back to warrior I and try focusing the reach in different directions. Reach back easy and then pull the water forward hard. Reverse it reaching back strong and returning forward easy. If you are up for it, being mindful of the hand and hip moving together, try reaching forward and back hard. Recover with a nice easy reach in both directions.
Alternating the foot positions in both the Warrior I and Warrior II means you are lunging right and then left. Feet are either moving front to back (warrior I) or side to side (warrior II). This exercise can be used to warm the body up in between the stationary Yoga exercises described earlier.
If you are suffering from back pain here are a few important reminders:
Relax: Move in a range that feels good.
Progress slowly: Your success relies on you moving in ways that the body does not associate pain. So remember to always move in range that feels good.
Be patient: Although results can be immediate, building strength may take 6 weeks or longer.
- Colado, J. et al. Effects of aquatic resistance training on health and fitness in postmenopausal women. Eur J Appl Physiol (2009) 106:113-122.