Whether it be hereditary, stress-related, or a result of an injury, many people around the world develop issues in their spine and back muscles. Each year over 30 million people suffer from symptoms of back pain. Physical therapy can help, but traditional exercise can often be too painful for people to continue. If you or someone you know fits this description, switching to aquatic exercise may be a way to relieve some pain and enjoy more of your day.



Aqua Aerobics

Aqua aerobics takes advantage of water’s low gravity and full-body resistance to create an ideal workout environment. Many seniors and rehabilitating swimmers switch to pool for aerobics to take stress of their bones and muscles.

“Water really reduces the impact,” says Sarah Patton, a SwimRVA Wellness coach. “I know a ton of people that come and do water aerobics because of back problems, knee replacements.”

Land workouts  have a higher impact on the body and can hurt weak joints, but Sarah and many other instructors suggesting that aqua aerobics is an excellent method to ease back into working out without hurting the body further.

Some aqua aerobic classes offered at SwimRVA to include Aqua Jogging and Aqua Boot Camp. 


Lap Swimming

With careful consideration, swimming can be beneficial in healing re-strengthening the back. Laps swimming puts more pressure on the back than lower intensity activities, so Dr. Rodeo, co-chief of the sports medicine and shoulder service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, suggests to start at about twice a week at first and then progressing slowly over four to six weeks.

One stroke to use in particular is the backstroke. “The slight hip rotation during backstroke also engages the entire core, while the undulating movement from the kicks activates the lower back and core” explains Sean McCance, MD.

Pool space may not be readily available in your neighborhood, so check out local community centers and aquatic facilities, and for operating times and lane availabilities.



The Mission of SwimRVA is to elevate swimming in the Richmond region making water safety and aquatic fitness more accessible to all. We promise to serve as a catalyst for regional aquatics and community-wide focus on water safety, health and fitness, sports tourism, and competitive aquatics. Donate today to help support our mission.

Subscribe to stay updated on the latest aquatic news in the Greater Richmond Area!