BUOYANT: Sue Shaw (bottom left) says she couldn’t walk if it wasn’t for her regular aqua aerobics sessions.
BUOYANT: Sue Shaw (bottom left) says she couldn’t walk if it wasn’t for her regular aqua aerobics sessions. Contributed

Aqua fitness relieving pain

SUE Shaw says she hates the water and can't swim, but if it wasn't for water, she wouldn't be able to walk.

Sue has arthritis in her knees, shoulders, back and neck but her aqua aerobics sessions at the Noosa Aquatic Centre give her relief from the terrible and constant pain.

"If it hadn't been for the pool, I would definitely not be walking today," she said.

"When you get in the water, it's amazing. You seem to get all your strength. You don't feel any pain. You can go on with your exercise feeling buoyant."

Sue's experience comes as Canadian occupational therapist Heather Scott is about to conduct research at the University of the Sunshine Coast into whether aquatic-based exercise can provide more holistic treatment options for people with conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

Ms Scott has worked as an occupational therapist for almost a decade and has received a scholarship for her USC PhD study to investigate the psychosocial advantages of water-based exercise for people suffering from a range of musculo

skeletal conditions.

She says musculoskeletal conditions were the most common causes of long-term pain and physical disability and they were becoming more prevalent as the population aged.

"The most commonly prescribed treatment is exercise," she said.

"However, the effective

ness of these interventions is largely determined by the patient engaging in, and then adhering to, a prescribed program."

According to Ms Scott, pain, decreased movement capacity and the fear of injury can create barriers for people who are prescribed typical land- based exercise and Sue Shaw couldn't agree more.

"People with pain don't realise how much the water can help," Sue said.

"The minute you get in the water you feel better. I hate the water and I don't swim but what lured me in was the thought of exercise with buoyancy.

"Now I go to aqua aerobics every day except Tuesdays.

"I will be 74 next month but people tell me I look 65. I feel water aerobics has kept me young."

- ANN RICKARD


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