Aquatics Program Open to Community

July 17, 2006

Exercise in warm water pool offers many benefits

The Aquatics Program at Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw is available to anyone in the community who would like to exercise in the hospital’s state-of-the-art warm water pool, which is heated to 92-94 degrees. The pool has steps with bilateral rails and specialized hydraulic lifts to ensure access for individuals of all abilities, and also offers a flat floor divided into depths of 5’, 4 ’ and 2’ 9” to accommodate comfortable exercise for individuals of all heights.

Therapy staff are certified to offer the Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program (AFAP), to help individuals with arthritis, or other joint problems, to maintain and/or improve their health and well being. An AFAP instructor leads participants in slow, gentle exercise routines. AFAP classes meet twice per week and take place at several times on Tuesdays and Thursdays and at 5:00 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Individuals who simply wish to exercise within the warm water pool may participate in the hospital’s Aquatic Exercise Program. Participants perform their exercise routines independently during 45-minute sessions, and may bring a personal aid for assistance if needed. Sessions are offered on a two or three time per week basis, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The goal of aquatic exercise is to decrease pain and discomfort, while simultaneously increasing physical fitness and relaxation. Warm water immersion lessens the effects of gravity, providing buoyancy and reducing weight-bearing stress on joints, often enabling participants to perform exercises they are unable to do on land. Benefits of aquatic exercise include increased flexibility, strength, coordination and balance, as well as improved circulation. Individuals who can benefit from aquatic exercise include those with back pain, arthritis, joint replacements and neurological conditions.

Neither program is covered by insurance, nor is a physician referral required for participation. Individuals may enroll on a monthly or yearly basis. A lifeguard is on duty at all times. Participants have use of the locker rooms and must wear aquatic shoes when using the pool. For additional information, or to register, call Judy Berenson, C.T.R.S., Aquatics Director at 845-786-4457.