Hydrokinetic therapy and obesity

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Hydrotherapy and obesity

Obesity is a frequent and everyday phenomenon that concerns an increasingly large part of the population, as the obesity rate in the Greek population is increasing, with Greek men and women being in the first places among the countries of the European Union. For the above reasons, it is considered necessary, alongside a healthy diet, to immediately activate it.

The usual practice of dealing with obesity consists of instructions given to obese people regarding the reduction of fat percentage and body weight and then their participation in specialized exercise programs(1), as exercise is a natural way of preventing and dealing with obesity. obesity. In addition to classic exercise methods, such as aerobic exercise and indoor activities, therapeutic exercise in water is also applied(2). The aquatic environment is a safe environment for exercising and dealing with obesity, as in an obese person, in addition to the burdened circulatory system and increased internal resistance, the musculoskeletal system is also burdened and, by extension, the levels of physical condition are reduced. More specifically, the use of the water environment, with a recommended temperature of 30º-35º C, has the main objective of increasing the degrees of freedom of movement of the joints at all levels and analgesia from chronic pain(3).


The goals of a hydrokinesitherapy program in obese individuals are to reduce pain in strained joints, improve joint range of motion, increase muscle strength, improve endurance, and increase the duration of daily activities by improving movement economy ( 4). For the above reasons, the program of therapeutic exercise in the water consists of combinations of basic movement patterns, taking into account principles of ergonomics(5), with a special emphasis on the person's posture. Also, water properties such as hydrostatic pressure, hydrostatic resistance and buoyancy are taken into account to perform the standards. The exercise program is applied in deep water so that the joints are not strained and the whole body is mobilized. The exercises are performed in all three dimensions of space, as buoyancy causes the absence of gravity. The natural resistance of the water facilitates muscle strengthening, while also contributing with an anti-edematous effect(6). Further advantages of hydrokinesiotherapy in obese people are the improvement of the breathing cycle, the reduction of the feeling of pain, the stimulation of self-confidence, as well as the adoption of a healthy and better quality of life.



1. Tokmakidis S. (2003). Exercise & Chronic Diseases.

2. Lawrence D. (1998). The complete guide to Exercise in Water

3.Lim JY., et al.(2010) Effectiveness of aquatic exercise for obese patients with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial Aug;2(8):723-31; quiz 793.

4. Cuesta-Vargas Al(2012). Deep water running and general practice in primary care for non-specific low back pain versus general practice alone: randomized controlled trial.

Clin Rheumatol. 2012 Jul;31(7):1073-8. Epub 2012 Mar 29

5.Sheldahl LM.( 1986) Special ergometric techniques and weight reduction. Med Sci Sports Exerc.  Feb;18(1):25-30.

6. Rica RL; et al., (2012). Effects of water-based exercise in obese older women: Impact of short-term follow-up study on anthropometric, functional fitness and quality of life parameters.Geriatr Gerontol Int.  June 14.


Dr. Marianna Kotzamanidou, PE, PT

Aquatic Physiotherapist

Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Humanities and Medical Studies, AKMI METROPOLITAN COLLEGE of Thessaloniki


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