Healthy Concepts
Traci Ombrello

Traci Ombrello

Traci Ombrello is the manager of CP’s Aquatic Center located in Green Bay. For more information, please visit or call 920-337-1122.

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We all know that one of the keys to being proactive with our health is exercise. Recognizing that is the easy part. The hard part is finding a form of exercise that’s right for you. There are many factors to think about when considering exercise; it needs to not only provide a good workout, but also be challenging, fun and convenient. When looking into exercise options, make sure aquatic exercise is on your list.

Waves of health benefits

Aquatic exercise provides many health benefits while being gentle on your joints and body, and is a great way to be proactive toward maintaining your health. Aquatic exercise can help improve muscle strength and balance, elevate your heart rate, increase endurance, provide greater joint flexibility, reduce pain and fatigue and can even help you sleep better. The pool is also a great way for many adults to slow down the loss of muscle that can occur as we age.

In addition, keeping your body in shape through regular aquatic exercise helps you maintain and improve your strength and endurance and build your immunity, essential when you are recovering from something as common as a cold, or a more serious health condition like a stroke or post-surgery recovery.

Nothing to be afraid of

Aquatic exercise is not as intimidating as other forms of exercise. For many — especially older adults — the thought of getting into an exercise routine can be daunting. They are worried about coordination, suffering an injury or just getting their body to do what they want it to do. Aquatic exercise is low impact, which makes people feel safe and comfortable while still being challenged, be it through group classes, independent exercise or one-on-one time with an instructor.

Keeps you social

But perhaps the most unexpected benefit many people see, is that aquatic exercise provides an important connection to other people. Participating in a weekly class gives an opportunity for people to become more connected with others, avoiding loneliness. Many also find that the added energy aquatic exercise brings helps get them out into the community more often and engage in activities they may not have had the confidence to do before!

No matter your reason, starting an aquatic exercise program is one of the smartest things you can do for your health. Research places that have aquatic classes or independent swim times in your area and stop by to check it out, as not all places are the same! Once you’ve found your match, dive on in and have fun! 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 01:59

Behind splashing and jumping is a lot of hard work

When you think of a swimming pool, you probably think of good times spent splashing around and having fun. And while you may not be quite ready to cannon ball your way back into the water, aquatic exercise can be one of the best ways to get your body moving. It’s safe, effective, enjoyable — and a lot of hard work. For good reason. Performing exercises in water, especially the deep end, is a great way to get your heart rate up. The water also provides just the right amount of resistance, keeping your body challenged. All qualities we look for in a good workout, right?

But if you still think diving into an aquatic exercise or therapy program is going to be easy, consider the following:

Low impact doesn’t mean no impact

Aquatic exercise may be easier on joints, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be working hard. Not only does aquatic exercise offer resistance, but it will challenge your balance, aiding in developing a stronger core, increase blood circulation and can help improve flexibility and range of motion. Adding on aquatic equipment like webbed gloves, water belts and weights will also up your impact game.

Your strength may not be what it used to be

With aquatic exercise, the natural impulse is to get in the water and start working at a high intensity. But if you need to rebuild strength, going too hard can lead to doing exercises incorrectly or doing damage. This is why being aware of your general health status and speaking with your doctor before starting an aquatic exercise program is so important.

You may also discover that the help of a specialized class that targets a certain area of the body or working with an aquatic physical therapist can take your health farther. This type of training can not only ensure you are doing exercises correctly, but keep you challenged as well. In fact, aquatic exercise may also help with activities you complete on land.

Dive in and you’ll likely regret it

Yes, aquatic exercise can be fun, but in order to make sure it is also effective, be sure to do your research and find a facility that offers the program or type of exercise you need. If you have any problems with walking or balance, visit the facility before your first class to be sure the lockers and pools are accessible for you. Also, find out if there is space for fitness walking and/or partial weight-bearing exercise. Knowing the layout will help you determine the type of exercises you can do.

Another important thing to check on is their staff. Be sure they have certified trainers and specialists on staff that know what they are doing, can provide proper instruction on exercise technique and will keep you challenged.

I get it, it’s hard to jump into a pool and not smile like you are a kid again, and aquatic exercise can be a lot of fun. But don’t discount the many benefits you gain from exercising in the water just because you’re in a pool. Give it a try and I think you’ll soon learn that aquatic exercise has many advantages ­— all of which help you stay strong, healthy and young at heart. 


If you are looking for a supplement to land-based physical or occupational therapy, dipping your toes into an aquatic therapy program might be something to consider. Aquatic therapy refers to exercises that are completed in the water and are generally designed to help improve balance, strength and mobility.

Many find this form of therapy beneficial as the buoyancy of the water makes it easier to perform movements that, for some, may be too difficult to complete on land. Water also provides the right amount of resistance so that you feel challenged without the risk of injury.

Finding the right aquatic therapy program takes a bit of research, as not all programs or facilities are alike. It’s important for you to know the facts and weigh the options so you can begin a program that will help you meet your goals. Here are a few questions to ask to get you started:

Is the staff qualified?

Be sure that staff members are certified to lead instruction in the water. Many physical and occupational therapists require additional training in order to help clients benefit from an aquatic therapy program, so don’t be shy to ask about certifications and experience.

What does the staff do?

One thing to ask is if the staff actually gets in the water with you. It may seem like an odd question to inquire about, but some aquatic therapy programs involve the client being in the water while a staff member provides instruction on land. To maximize the benefits of aquatic therapy, look for a program where the staff is right next to you in the water, working with you on each exercise.

Another factor to take into consideration is a care plan. Look for staff that takes the time to discuss your options and works with you to build a customized plan of care based on your specific needs. If they want you working in the water without taking the time for an initial consultation, you may not be happy with the results.

Is the program diverse?

No one health concern is the same, so your treatment possibilities shouldn’t be either. Look for an aquatic therapy program that offers several avenues of care in addition to aquatic physical therapy. For example, therapeutic exercise targets more general health and age related concerns like joint stiffness and core strength by focusing on range of motion, balance and endurance exercises. Specialized exercise classes tend to focus on a specific medical condition such as orthopedic issues, joint replacement and stroke recovery. Classes are often held in a group setting to promote camaraderie as well.

Another consideration is alternative aquatic therapy. This type of therapy is more one-on-one and includes a personalized exercise plan designed to help improve functional independence. Once the exercises are mastered, many clients can complete them on their own.

Other tips on what to ask:

  • Is there a program your doctor would recommend?
  • Are there program reviews or client testimonials you can read?
  • Does the facility provide a clean and safe environment?

Aquatic therapy can be a beneficial supplement to current therapy and help maintain your health by keeping you active. Asking the right questions and assessing the results will go a long way in finding an aquatic therapy program that is right for you. 


Thursday, 30 March 2017 21:00

Pools aren’t just for splashing

Remember the days of heading to the pool on hot summer days? Nothing beat jumping and splashing around with friends to stay cool. While our thoughts on going to the pool may not mean exactly the same as we get older, that doesn’t mean it’s off limits. Heading to the pool can be a great way to help maintain your overall health and wellness. Splashing optional!

Aquatic exercise

Hitting the waves for some exercise is a great way to stay in shape, while being gentle on your joints. Aquatic exercise — especially in warm water — helps to increase circulation, improves flexibility and endurance, and helps to build core strength and cardiovascular endurance. Not to mention it’s a great calorie burner! In addition, aquatic exercise can also help slow down muscle loss many adults experience as they age.

Getting in the pool can also be of benefit to those dealing with chronic pain or recovering from injury or surgery. The buoyancy of the water decreases joint compression making it easier, while still providing resistance, to complete exercises. Finding classes that include a variety of exercises that tackle range of motion, flexibility and endurance will give you the best outcome.

Making a connection

One hidden but important benefit of aquatic exercise is the connection you make with others in and out of the pool. Look for classes or a program that is non-competitive, provides opportunities to be more social and offers a fun atmosphere. This will make you more likely to head to class each week. Let’s face it, if you aren’t excited about the class, you won’t want to go. Connecting with others in the pool can also help build confidence to participate in activities and be more social with friends on land as well!

How to get started

Do you just want to dip a toe in and see how it feels? Many sites will offer a trial or discounted pass for you to test the waters and see how you match up with aquatic exercise. Check their website and see if any of the classes offered fit your needs. Look for a facility that has a lifeguard on duty, is well-maintained and has certified instructors.

Before you start an exercise program, be sure that your physician is on board with a warm water exercise program. Your doctor might be able to make suggestions on what types of exercises to look for. When you are exercising, be sure to stay hydrated. Being in the pool provides great resistance training and can get your heart rate going fast, so listen to your body and know your limits. If you are taking a class, talk to the instructor ahead of time about any concerns or limitations with certain movements. They should be able to give you modifications so you can still participate.

Use these tools to find out what types of aquatic exercise programs are offered in your area and if they can meet your needs. Once you find one, dive on in — you’ll be splashing like a kid again in no time! 


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