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Aquatic Therapy for Athletes: Enhancing Performance and Preventing Injuries

Home News & Videos JAG Physical Therapy Blog Aquatic Therapy for Athletes: Enhancing Performance and Preventing Injuries

Aquatic therapy harnesses the natural properties of water to provide training, injury prevention, and rehabilitation opportunities to people at all levels of athleticism. Buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, and resistance all interact with the body, assisting with muscular conditioning, nerve function, and cardiovascular fitness.

How Does Aquatic Therapy Enhance Athletic Performance?

The right program of aquatic therapy can have a significantly positive impact on your performance. Thanks to the low-impact nature of this kind of training, athletes find they can do more without the risk of injury. But what are the specific benefits of aquatic therapy for sports performance?

Improved Strength

The density of water is around 1 g/ml, more than 800 times that of air. While you may feel like your hand or another body part moves through water with ease, it actually requires more than 800 times more force to do so than if you were moving through air.

During aquatic therapy, your muscles must exert this force to achieve motion. By working against resistance in this way, you can build strength sustainably.

Enhanced Flexibility

As you go deeper into a body of water, the pressure increases. As you near the surface, the pressure decreases. This differential results in a buoyancy force, pushing you upwards.

The buoyancy force provides support to your body during aquatic therapy. It becomes easier to carry out flexibility exercises in a safe manner, without the risk of injury.

Better Endurance

As you move your body in the water, your musculoskeletal system must overcome the resistance placed upon it. And what's driving muscular performance? Your cardiovascular system.

By engaging in cardiovascular workouts, you are developing your endurance, enabling you to perform at your best for longer.

Improved Proprioception

Proprioception is our brain's perception of where our body parts are in the space we occupy. A strong proprioception supports good balance, reaction and responsiveness, and coordination.

The hydrostatic pressure of water on the body stimulates the nervous system, supporting real improvements in proprioception.

What Types of Injuries Can Aquatic Therapy Help Prevent and Rehabilitate?

Aquatic therapy is often associated with injury prevention and recovery. By utilizing both proactive techniques, as well as aquatic rehabilitation for athletes, professional therapists help you remain fit for longer and return to fitness faster following an injury.


Sprains are damage to the ligament tissues that connect bone to bone. Resistance training in water can support restrengthening of the joint without significant discomfort while also building muscle to prevent reinjury.


Strains are damage to muscle. Aquatic therapy increases muscle health, reducing the risk of strains. Leg kicks and arm flexes can gently rebuild muscle after severe strains.


Tendonitis is nflammation to the tendon that connects muscle to bone. A combination of shallow water walking and deep water flutter kicking can stimulate the Achilles tendon, reducing discomfort and inflammation.

Stress Fractures

A stress fracture is damage to bone caused by overuse or wear and tear. Low-impact aquatic running helps patients transition from the rest period to gentle exercise during recovery. A supervised program of aqua therapy, in conjunction with out-of-water therapy, can also help to increase bone density.

What Are the Key Components of JAG Physical Therapy's Aquatic Programs?

At JAG PT, we provide a comprehensive set of services that reflects the complexity and diversity of the human body. We tailor these services to specific needs, desired outcomes, and circumstances, targeting the best possible results in each case.

Individualized Assessment

As with all forms of physical therapy, an individualized approach tends to bring the best results. Each person's situation is different, from the severity of their past injuries to their risk of future injury, as well as their specific goals and objectives.

This is why we conduct individual assessments and consultations to align our services with your desired outcomes.

Supervised Training Sessions

All training sessions need to be flexible, with room for adjustments and alterations. This is certainly true for injury prevention and general conditioning. But it's particularly the case for rehabilitation, where the risk of discomfort or reinjury is greater.

Our training sessions are conducted under close supervision, ensuring you remain on track to reach your objectives.

Progression-Based Programming

This flexibility is not just confined to single training sessions. By monitoring your progress, we can help you define the next stage of the process, helping you get where you need to be in comfort and confidence.

Experience the Benefits of Aquatic Therapy with JAG Physical Therapy

Here at JAG PT, we support desired outcomes for our patients and clients with expert aquatic therapy services. Reach out today to discover more about what we can do for you, and schedule your first appointment.