by Gina Pongetti Angeletti, MPT, MA, CSCS, ART-Cert.
There’s nothing better than a hard workout, leaving you satisfied for your achievements, sweating profusely, heart rate on top of the mountain and stronger as a result. Most people think “when is this going to be over?” At the same time, there’s nothing worse than not being able to work out…it’s when you can’t have it that you want it even more!
Patients come to physical therapy with sprains, strains, post-surgery recovery instructions and most of the time, a bit of sadness about being injured. Understandably so, the athlete wants to return to the track; the mom needs to return to literally running her kids around; the CPA needs to be able to walk through the airport to travel; the kid needs to be able to participate in physical activity so as to not drive the parents nuts! For whatever reason, supplementing other activities for the sport/workout that can’t be performed while recovering is important for the body, psyche, sleep, health, relationship quality and more!
For lower body acute injuries (such as Achilles issues, ankle sprains), chronic conditions like arthritis in the knees and ankles or the spine, and stress fractures, taking body weight and pounding out of the picture can be the key to still allowing a great workout! Fluid Running is one of the only certified deep water running programs in the U.S. Incorporating this type of workout into your routine could be the exact thing needed to help stay away from many injuries! Let’s break it down:
Ankle or knee sprains:
- Can’t pound, run, or jump because of restrictions
- Knee and ankle may be not stable enough to run for fear of reinjury
- Hips, legs, and core need to stay strong so when released, there is a good support system for the injured area!
- So… Deep Water Run to accomplish all, get heart rate up, and stay within limitations!
- The more weight placed through the hips, knees, and spine, the more pain, putting people out for a day often the day after a workout!
- Walking, or light weight bearing, gets dull and boring, motivation drops
- Condition gets “better” when body parts around the arthritic joints get stronger to support the system and take pressure off
- With Deep Water Running… joints can work against resistance of the water to bring strength, and the resistance can be altered at any time based on personal effort if there is pain!
- Three types of people usually suffer from these: 1) the athlete that overdoes training-usually in combination with lack of proper nutrition, 2) an acute injury, such as a trip, fall, or athletic incident resulting in a fracture that may or may not need pinning, surgery, or just rest, and 3) osteopenic/perotic patients who, whether due to genetics, nutrition, auto-immune issues, menopause/hormones or other, cannot seem to maintain the bone density or increase density.
- The osteoporotic patients are not always the elderly, although for fall risk prevention, being in the water is a fantastic option.
- What can’t this category do? Put weight through the bones themselves (i.e. the femur, tibia, fibula, pelvis, etc.)
- After the initial stage of rest and healing is accomplished, MD’s and PT’s release patients to start resistive exercise because the bone can handle the tugging. On land, there is a finite amount of strength training that can be done with limited weight bearing, that also leads to an aerobic challenge
- So…Deep Water Run to eliminate the stress to the bones from compression, and work the supportive muscle structure!
4th Bonus Category: The Overworked Athlete!
- There is physically only so much stress the lower body can take before it breaks down. Often, this happens with too many miles run, too many workout days in a week (often two-a-day) leading to a lack of opportunity for the body to recover, or too fast of a ramp up!
- This also can happen with people who are obese or overweight, trying to lose weight and needing to find ways to increase their heart rate for both fitness and caloric reasons. Rowing, biking, elliptical, walking on treadmill- although none involve running, they do involve stress to the lower body. Increasing things too much too soon can cause overuse tendon injuries, bone aches and pain, etc. The body, at first, its overweight state, cannot handle the stress until it is allowed to adapt and get stronger. Unfortunately, goal-oriented people overdo the start, then get hurt, and have a hard time re-starting the motivation process.
- Adding Deep Water Running to the plan from the get-go will allow for a decreased rate of injury for BOTH categories of active people, giving the bones and joints a chance to rest, recover, and restore themselves.
I challenge you to have never been in one of these categories in life, or know someone who is. The high school runner. The adult triathlete. The arthritic aunt. The teenage football player with a shin fracture. Dad with back pain (arthritis, stenosis, etc.), being the parent of an injured kid not playing their sport who drives you crazy!
Classes are available at several locations around the Chicagoland area. You will be amazed not only at the heart rate elevation, the circulation throughout your body that you feel due to just being in the water, core activation to “right” yourself vertically in the deep water, and so much more. Pro athletes, Olympians, NCAA scholarship student-athletes all do it. You should, too!
Visit their website for class locations and scheduling!