Physical Exercise is absolutely critical at all ages and stages of life.
  • Physical activity can however also become addictive. Some elite athletes push themselves to their physical limits in order to "win", but in doing so, cause injuries that plague them all of their lives
  • Some people become addicted to the adrenalin ruch which they achieve when they exercise beyond what might be the ideal limits.
When muscles and joints are not used frequently, they weaken and become less effective. When used beyond the "normal" level of activity (even for a very fit person), the risk of injury increases.
Over time range of movement may easily reduce, and the capacity to return to previous levels of flexibility or mobility can become increasingly difficult.

There are many reasons why physical fitness diminishes in this way, including:

  • Sedentary lifestyle (eg. sitting at a desk or computer too much; watching TV excessively -not only adults but also children can suffer).
  • Age (With age mobility can become diminished; but the rate of decline is far greater if muscles and joints are not used)
  • Injury (An accident or even a disease can impair a person's capacity to move)



Be Careful

Even fit, mobile athletes can over do exercise. Movement should be smooth, speeding up gradually and slowing down gradually. Abrupt starts or stops to movements can impact on joints and muscles causing damage to bones, muscles and other tissues.

Low impact exercises are the sort where these abrupt

movements are minimised or avoided.

Examples of Low Impact Exercise Activities include:

  • Aquafitness (Where water cushions sharp movements)
  • Stretching
  • Tai Chi
  • Pilates (Where movement is slow and controlled).

Why is Water Exercise Low Impact?

Water allows a different type of exercise, in the following ways:
Water is Buoyant.  When you are partly submerged in water, gravity is reduced;  and as a result there is a less jarring affect (than on the ground) as the body moves up and down.  The work load and motion are the same, but resistance is greater when you move in water. In effect your movements are cushioned. The deeper a body is submerged, the less effect gravity has upon it - in essence, by submerging more of your body in water you are reducing your effective weight.
Water is Cooling.  Depending on water temperature, heat build-up in the body is removed faster than on land. It is important however, that the water you are exercising in is not too cool, as you can rapidly lose too much body heat when you are submerged in very cool water.
Compression Forces Decrease. Body weight on land tends to compress joints; but this is less of an issue in water.
When the body is immersed in water, these forces of compression are significantly decreased hence there is less wear and tear on the joints.

Hydrostatic Pressure on the Body is more Even, There is equal pressure on the body in all directions (around parts of the body) at any given depth of water. This means that any damage by sharp or irregular movement is decreased.  For instance, if a twisting movement is made at the waist, the density of the water slows the movement down.  This not only increases the amount of energy being expended to make the movement, but also makes the movement less harsh and easier on the muscles. The water acts as a dampener, buffering and slowing such movements.

Blood Movement may be Affected. Submerged parts of the body have a greater pressure on the skin than normal air pressure on the skin does. This situation means that the heart must push blood harder to get it into blood vessels that are close to the skin surface.  As the primary goal of exercise is to increase the heart rate, this assists in meeting this criterion more easily.  However, it is something that also needs to be watched, especially if any participants have a history of high blood pressure problems.

Increased Resistance to Body Movements. Resistance to movement in water may be approximately 830 times greater than the resistance to the same movement in air.  Water sport can be demanding, but it can also be gentle, making it a good type of exercise for nearly anyone.