3 Ways High Intensity Water Exercise Helps Ease Back Pain

by | Jun 26, 2024 | Exercise Tips, Lower Body, Upper Body, Water Exercise

Water exercise is often noted as a safe movement regime for those seeking relief from pain. The slow-paced, gentle movements are easy on the joints, thanks to water’s buoyancy that supports your muscles. However, did you know that high-intensity, cardio-focused, and strength-building workouts in the pool can also ease pain? These vigorous exercises could be the missing piece in your long-term pain relief strategy, promoting muscle strengthening to banish pain for good.

Let’s explore the idea of high intensity exercise and its impact on pain relief.


Muscles Thrive With Balance

Imagine a newly planted tree, stabilized by stakes placed evenly around it. Similarly, muscles achieve their best performance when tension is evenly distributed, and imbalances can lead to overuse of some muscles and underuse of others. That’s why slow-paced, all-directional movements are the first step in easing pain. 

Any movement in water encounters resistance, and when you jog while reaching your arms in various directions—front, back, right, left, and in rotation—you engage in balanced muscle strengthening. This balance allows your joints to move freely, laying the critical foundation for injury prevention and further strength building.


Intensity Is In Your Hands

The surface area of your hands significantly affects the resistance you feel when moving in water. Swimmers streamline their bodies to minimize resistance; their arms are tight against their heads, bodies straight, toes pointed. This streamlined form meets the least resistance as they travel through the water. Similarly, when we’re exercising in a pool, our hand position can make the movement easier, or increase the effort needed.

To modify exercise intensity, adjust your hand position. Slicing your hands through the water streamlines your movements, making exercises less intense and suitable for building initial strength. As you progress, changing your hand position increases resistance: a loose fist adds some resistance, while an open palm provides the most. If your goal is mobility, streamline your hands to slice through the water. For strength, use a fist or open palm to maximize resistance.



Three Ways High-Intensity Water Exercise Can Ease Back Pain


1. Increase Lean Muscle and Improve Muscle Endurance

High-intensity water exercise helps build lean muscle, which improves overall muscle endurance. This muscle development supports your body better, alleviating pain over time.


2. Improve Circulation

Enhanced circulation from intense water workouts improves oxygen delivery and waste removal, contributing to a healthier internal environment and reduced inflammation. Read more on how buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure contribute to pain relief here.


3. Power Training for Independence

Short bursts of high-intensity, maximum effort exercises—also known as power training—are particularly beneficial for people over 50. Just 10-20 seconds of such activity can significantly boost power, aiding in maintaining independence. Incorporating combined slow and fast movements, as discussed in previous articles, is an effective way to introduce power training.



The Takeaway

High-intensity water exercises are not just for fitness enthusiasts but can be a game-changer for those seeking long-term pain relief. By balancing muscle tension, enhancing circulation, and incorporating power training, you can achieve a stronger, healthier body, free from pain. 

Want to get started? Learn more about Wavemakers here—the water exercise membership with your best mobility in mind.


Laurie Denomme

Laurie Denomme

an exercise coach dedicated to helping you move better and be your best everyday.

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