Hydrotherapy and Falls Prevention in the Aging Population
Hydrotherapy, or more specifically aquatic therapy, is the use of warm water for therapeutic purposes. It has been shown to be beneficial for people of all ages, but can be especially helpful in preventing falls in the aging population. Falls can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, leading to pain, disability, and social isolation.
Water provides a natural resistance that can help to improve balance and coordination. Specific balance activities can be completed safely in the pool that would be too challenging on land. For example, walking in the water is a low impact activity that puts little pressure through your joints but builds up balance, coordination, and strength which helps people maintain their stability when walking.
Aquatic therapy can help to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility, improving the range of motion of the joints. This can make it easier to move and avoid obstacles, which can reduce the risk of tripping and falling during day to day activities of independent living.
With regular sessions aquatic therapy can help to improve overall fitness and cardiovascular health, as regular exercise improves the health of the heart and lungs. This can increase stamina and reduce fatigue, which can make it easier to stay active. Fitter people are more likely to be able to react quickly when they stumble and avoid a fall.
Aquatic therapy can help to reduce the fear of falling which is a common problem among the elderly. The warm water pool provides a comfortable, safe and supportive environment for exercise without the worry of falling while exercising. It can also have a positive impact on mental health and well-being. This can lead to increased confidence and independence, which can also help reduce the risk of falls.
Aquatic therapy is a low-impact activity, which makes it a good option for people with joint pain or other health conditions. LHAP provides both individual and group sessions which can be fun and sociable helping to improve motivation and adherence to regular exercise.