Yes, you can do your aquatic exercise program at the beach :)

Sophie Heywood

😊   Our aquatic physiotherapy programs are designed for the swimming pool but we have had one beach lover that enjoyed getting out and about in the waves for her program. This is her story.


Cath is 65 years old and has had hip pain for several years. She is in good health generally and walks about 4000 steps a day. Cath was previously active with exercise classes but the disruptions during the COVID pandemic as well as hip pain got in the way of doing regular physical activity. She experienced moderate pain from her hips with walking and had difficulty standing up from a seated position.  In the morning, Cath would wake up feeling stiff and sore. Her greatest concerns were that her hip pain didn’t seem to improve if she did more walking or circuit training. She was looking for advice on how to ease the pain and a plan to get back into exercise. Cath’s ultimate goal when she got in touch with us to start an aquatic program was to get back to walking more easily.


Cath was at this time living on the coast, it was summer and she creatively adapted the pool program to the beach.


“I am doing my aquatic physio in the sea and have adapted the sessions to suit. I wrote out my program on a laminated sheet and worked out that for some of the exercises having a boogieboard to lightly rest my hands on assisted with balance.”


Even better, Cath also made the most of the surf “If a good wave comes along I take that into the shore then go back out to resume”


Cath’s tips for doing the aquatic physio program at the beach

-       Find a time and a part of the beach with the least amount of swell or on days with bigger swell, take a break and catch a wave in

-       The boogie board is a great place to put your notes for your program

-       Walk parallel to the shore in the water

-       Enjoy the bird life and the beautiful skies when you do your workout


Cath got stronger and exercising in the water improved her confidence to restart her land-based exercises once she finished the six-week aquatic program. She also learnt more about exercise load, building up slowly and commented after finding out more about pain and arthritis that she was motivated to stick at it with a new mindset “adjusting my head to the fact that I will live with this, that exercise makes me stronger but the pain doesn’t go away!”


Other tips from Cath for exercising with arthritis

"Put some structure in place to make sure you do the program. I did it on Sunday Wednesday Friday each week.”

“The first couple of weeks are hard but stick at it and be sensitive to feeling stronger in your legs and then use that stronger feeling to want to feel even stronger.”


We are so impressed Cath with your commitment to exercise and your creative adaptations to the Hydro Functional Kickstarter program. It seems you really can do aquatic physiotherapy anywhere.

Inspired by Cath, we’ve tried some exercises from our Kickstarter program at the beach and came up with extra tips

·       It’s harder to maintain your balance at the beach compared to in the pool and we had to find a smooth bit of sand

·       The exercises we did in shorter bursts between waves

·       The recovery after the waves were great for improving balance

·       We also found it best doing it at waist depth for steadiness

·       Sometimes we had to use our hands underwater to hold our balance (or like Cath, you could try a bodyboard)

·       When exercising at the beach, follow all the water safety rules such as exercise with a buddy, stay at a depth that that you can recover from or easily walk out of and steer clear of rough waves, surf or rips.


Happy holidays and enjoy the beach!