We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Different Aquatic Therapy Exercises?

By Rebecca Harkin
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Aquatic therapy exercises are aerobic, muscle and strength-building exercises performed in water. These types of exercises involve moving arms and legs through the water in various motions and can be performed standing in shallow or deep water. The benefits of aquatic therapy exercises are similar to exercising on land, but the impact on the bones and joints is much less, making this a wonderful exercise program for people with osteoporosis, muscle or ligament tears, arthritis, and the elderly.

These exercises can be done without equipment, but most organized classes use at least some sort of equipment, typically provided by the instructor. An aqua jogger is a belt which holds a person upright in deep water and allows the arms and legs to move freely. Foam noodles and foam barbells can be held in the hands to keep the person afloat during leg exercises or moved through the water for added resistance. Aqua weights for the wrist and ankles are used to increase resistance and build muscle. Pool bottoms can either be slippery or rough, so most participants purchase a pair of rubber soled water shoes or sneakers.

Most aquatic therapy exercise classes begin and end with muscle stretches conducted in shallow water at the edge of the pool for balance support. The classes typically stay in shallow water for aerobic or dance type exercises, during which wrist and ankle weights can be added to increase the fitness difficulty and better tailor the workout to the participants' abilities. Some of the typical moves are to walk forwards and backward, run, squat and stand, jumping jacks, and jump ups. Coordinating arm movements are often demonstrated by the instructor for added difficulty and to increase physical fitness, but are optional based on the participant’s fitness level. To maintain the participants' heart rates at the targeted level, more strenuous aerobic exercises may be intermixed with stationary aquatic therapy exercises such as forward or sideways leg raises or knee raises.

More advanced classes for aquatic therapy exercises will then move in to deep water and will employ buoyancy devices such as an aqua jogger, noodles, or foam barbells. When an aqua jogger is used, the typical exercises are to run through the deep water, move arms and legs in opposite directions in a mimicked cross-country ski motion, and to alternately wave or flap arms and legs. When noodles or foam barbells are used, the concentration of the aquatic therapy exercises becomes the legs and involves bicycling or running motions and raising and lowering the legs forwards or sideways. The noodles and foam barbells are sometimes moved across the water surface to exercise the arms at the same time. Deep water exercises may involve the use of ankles weights for added resistance, but only if the participant is very fit and a strong swimmer.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.