Aqua Kinetics – Water Recovery
By Jim Hiserman, C.S.C.S
Activity is Key to Recovering from Workouts
All athletes and coaches know that progressively more challenging workouts are essential to success. What many overlook, however, is that recovery from these workouts is as important as the workouts themselves.
Various methods of recovery were analyzed in a study by Dolgener and Morien at the University of Northern Iowa. In their study, “The Effect of Massage on Lactate Disappearance” (Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 1993, 7(3), Ipp. 159-162), subjects were randomly placed in three groups after performing an exhausting treadmill run. Members of the first group recovered passively by laying on their backs. Those in the second group recovered while riding a bicycle ergometer at 40% of Vo2 max. The third group recovered by having both legs massaged by the same certified massage therapist.
Blood samples were taken from each subject at 3, 5, 9, 15 and 20 minutes after exercise and to determine the level of lactate. The passive recovery group did not begin to decrease lactate until the 15th minute, while the massage group began to decrease lactate at the 9-minute mark. Best, however, was the bicycle group which exhibited decreased lactate by the 5-minute mark. This group also showed a significantly greater decrease in Lactate at the 9, 15, and 20 minute marks. At the end of the 20 minute recovery period, the bicycle recovery group had decreased lactate by a total of 55%, significanrly better than the massage recovery group (26%) and the passive recovery group (22%).
Probably the ideal recovery available to most high school and college coaches incorporates a combination of active recovery, hydrotherapy, and massage. Aquakinetics combines all these elements inro a short pool exercise session.
Deep Water Aquakinetics
Active recovery (stationary cycling) was shown in Dolgener et al to decrease blood lactate by 55% in 20 minutes. Utilizing aquakinetics as a means of acrive recovery may allow for a quicker and more complete recovery by providing several beneficial effects that land exercise alone cannot produce.
According to John Horsely, P.T., founder and director of The Institute of Aquatic Rehabilitation and Restor Sports Physical Therapy (Fountain Valley, California), low-level deep water exercise immediately following a workout should prove beneficial in the following ways:
– Deep water aquakinetics (with the body immersed in water up to the neck using an AquaJogger® belt) takes advantage of the hydrostatic pressure on the thorax to increase venous return of me blood to the heart. This hydrostatic pressure is 2 to 9 times more effective than using an elastic wrap to achieve thee same effect. This increase in venous return reduces the blood lactate by flushing out the pooling of metabolites in the muscles and blood
– Deep water aquakinetics creates a greater increase in the heart’s stroke volume (how much blood the heart can pump in one beat) during exercise. This allows for more intense exercise without the corresponding rise in heart rate (number of beats per minute) that would induce a rise in blood lactate. The greater level of exercise without a dramatic rise in heart rate should allow for a decrease in blood lactate in a shorter amount of time. The use of deep water aquakinetics allows for a fuller range of motion with little or no joint compression. The three dimensional resistance of the water allows movement to be performed with much greater ease and range of motion, thus enhancing flexibility.
– Because water has a force approximatdy 20 times greater than air, deep water aquakinetics provides a massage action on the moving limbs, increasing blood flow to the muscles being exercised (the arms and legs).
The use of aquakinetics (deep water pool running, etc.) for 10 to 15 minutes after an intense workout just may be the most beneficial recovery / restoration modality that is available to virtually every high school and college that has a swimming pool.