What Is The Ideal Therapy Pool Temperature?
With the right kind of therapy pool by changing and experimenting with different temperatures you can enjoy the benefits of both a water gym and spa. Warm and cold water have huge potential health benefits but it is important to understand the risks of different pool temperatures as well. Pool temperature ranges have differing effects on the body and some temperatures are safer to perform certain exercises than others. Please keep in mind that these are general guidelines and different body types respond to temperatures differently. A water temperature of 77 degrees may be very uncomfortable for some people while hardly cold at all for others. It is important to tailor the pool therapy water temperatures to match the comfort level and enjoyment of the user.
When experimenting with different therapy pool temperatures an important concept to understand is the process of temperature acclimation. Acclimation is the process by which the body gradually adapts itself to cold water temperatures through gradual habitual exposure. With the process of acclimation, it’s possible to improve circulation to the extremities during cold water immersion and to reduce or eliminate cold shock.
Unless you are training for a polar bear plunge though, most users will enjoy a pool temperature of 72 degrees or above. Since tap water is generally at 50 degrees, you may still need a heater or wait until the temperature gets warmer to enjoy your therapy pool. Any water temperature below 70 degrees should be dealt with caution since sudden exposure can result in a cold shock and loss of breathing control including hyperventilation. You should exercise even more caution if you have any heart conditions since temperatures below 70 can also strain the heart.
Extreme open water swimming and triathlete training aside, this temperature range can be considered relatively cool for many recreational swimmers and is a good introductory temperature band to experience some of the benefits of cooler water. There is a popular belief and medical studies suggest that cold water swimming can boost the immune system as well as provide a cold water high of endorphins. It is important to note that while swimming vigorously is feasible in cooler water temperatures the heart also works harder after being exposed to cold water. Cold water generally is a good medium for more intense aerobic activity and many enjoy the mental as well as physical benefits of cooler water.
To get your heart pumping and a vigorous workout in this water temperature we recommend the butterfly stroke as your best choice since it engages more muscles simultaneously than other swimming strokes such as freestyle. Butterfly is also the most physically demanding method of swimming. Practicing the butterfly stroke in this temperature range can tone your muscles while building strength and endurance for your cardiovascular system as well. We would recommend this temperature range for recreational swimmers who are interested in athletic training.
This is the official water temperature band required for Olympic swimming competitions and is a great temperature for recreational swimming as well as for performing various types of water aerobics. Although this temperature can be considered soothing the natural compression in water gives your lungs and blood vessels a workout, and another tremendous benefit is that the buoyancy of water helps support your joints.
This temperature range is suitable for all types of swimmers including elderly, pregnant women, and children. It is conducive to a wide range of activities. Some of the activities you can do in this temperature besides swimming include aqua aerobics, lap swimming, strength conditioning, and joint rehabilitation exercises.
Aqua aerobics would include movements such as water jogging, jumping jacks, and side leg lifts that work your core muscles. These exercises do a great job of boosting your heart rate without putting any stress on the joints. Strength conditioning exercises in the pool include working with underwater dumbbells or flaps and performing movements such as bicep curls. The advantage of performing these exercises in the water is water offers natural resistance and you can work muscles you normally do not utilize on land in an exercise. Joint rehabilitation exercises such as gentle hamstring or hip stretches and flexing the knees work great in this temperature range as well.
A great relaxing trick you can perform in your therapy pool is to wear a floating neck device, then place a pool noodle near your calves or ankles to support your legs. You can lie there, close your eyes and enjoy the calming and restorative effects of warm water. The therapy pool user can experience great muscle relaxation, better sleep, and significant stress relief by exercising, playing, and relaxing in this recommended temperature range.
This water temperature is relatively high and much closer to the body’s skin temperature of 91 degrees than the other temperature ranges. This therapeutic pool temperature is ideal for rehabilitation and pain relief. Remember to keep in mind that this temperature range for a therapy swimming pool is much too high to swim and exercise and is more for very gentle low intensity range of movement and other restorative exercises. This temperature may be beneficial to those suffering from chronic pain disorders such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. Movements such as rotating the knee out and in, rotating the shoulder, and knee raises will feel more comfortable due to the natural support of the water. In fact, some medical studies suggest that water therapy may be very beneficial for restoring range of movement especially before and after surgery.
Ultimately the best temperature for a therapy pool depends on your individual needs and health objectives. A personal therapy swimming pool can provide a wide variety of options. Choosing which temperature range that is suitable for your own health and fitness goals is similar to picking which gear in your vehicle for the road ahead. Adjusting the temperature range of the pool gives you the choice to focus on healing and rehabilitation or to build muscle tone and weight loss. The best thing is that water exercise and aerobic therapy is beneficial to everyone, from the elderly to professional athletes, and can provide a versatile health and fitness solution for the whole family.