Why assisted stretching in water can prolong your career
Athletes and dancers are some of the hardest working people on the planet. Professional athletes and dancers at all levels are always looking for ways to remain healthy and ultimately keep performing, no matter what the cost. In recent years, the benefits of water therapy for athletes and dancers has become more widely recognised than ever before and is a popular way to help them stay at the top of their game.
Whether you’re a professional or semi-professional athlete or dancer, or considering becoming one, one the most critical things you need to do is look after your body. Athletes and dancers put their bodies through a lot. They are typically lean, and strong, but they need to work hard every day to stay at the peak of fitness, often via a punishing regime.
When you watch an athlete working – i.e. doing what they do best and moving fluidly and apparently without effort – do you sometimes wonder how? How have they honed their bodies to carry them along, or developed the physical and mental stamina they need to compete?
It’s the same with dancers. Professional dancers give their all during a performance. Some do eight shows a week, and many have to return to the studio the following day for another marathon round of exercise and rehearsal. I recently saw a West End musical where the dancers were also the stage set: through a 3 hour show they were used not just as performers but also to represent houses, walls, animals, fire, water and sand. How do they stay at peak fitness and come back for more night after night?
Of course the secret is to look after your body, especially your muscles and joints. This means more than just preventing soreness and stiffness. Taking proper care of your muscles and joints allows you to continue to be fluid and maintain excellent muscle condition, so that you can have a career that is sustainable and lasting.
With AquaStretch, the water becomes your training medium
Every professional athlete knows that assisted stretching is a vital part of a training programme. But stretching your body too quickly or overstretching your body is dangerous because it can result in torn muscles and damaged ligaments. It could also mean the kind of chronic pain that may result in long-term consequences for your body, health, and career.
Assisted stretching is not just for the professionals. Even if you only occasionally play competitive sports, or attend keep fit classes, or go the gym, you still need to take care of your muscles and joints before and after your exercise sessions.
That’s why aqua therapy, and AquaStretch in particular, can be so beneficial.
In general terms, with aqua therapy (or aquatic therapy), the water becomes a therapeutic exercise medium. With the proper assistance provided by a trained aquatic therapist, the water’s natural viscosity or resistance can be used for muscle strengthening and rehabilitation.
Aqua therapy is most beneficial for healthy athletes and dancers as a preventative maintenance tool to facilitate overall fitness, cross-training, and sports-specific skills. It improves blood flow and promotes muscle relaxation. Plus it can also be useful for general conditioning, strength training, and a variety of movement skills training.
Have you noticed that when you enter a swimming pool you feel an apparent loss of weight? This is all down to the buoyant force, and every joint inside the water is decompressed and unweighted. This means, working with the therapist, your muscles are forced to work harder, allowing for natural strengthening. You’re also able to float, thereby reducing the effects of gravity on injured or aching joints and muscles.
A trained AquaStretch practitioner will use a tailored programme for you making full use of the natural buoyancy of the water. The “slow-motion” effect allows you to experience multi-angle movement without any severe consequence (due to the reduced joint pressure). I’ve often had clients be completely surprised at how much further they can move their joints during an AquaStretch session with me!
Make AquaStretch part of your training regime
Talk to me about how AquaStretch can help you with maintaining or restoring your range of motion and flexibility. I can also help you build muscle strength and even re-educate your muscles after an injury, or help you recover from an event or performance.