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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Water-based exercises

Ngā kori tinana ā-wai

Older lady enjoying water exercise Water-based exercises are a great way to help you get better from an injury or live with a long-term condition. They are also a great way to start to be more active.

Exercises you find difficult to do on land are easier in water due to buoyancy, which makes you float, and other water properties.

Water-based exercises are similar to hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is when a physiotherapist gives you exercises in specially designed pools of a certain depth and temperature. But you can do the exercises in the four sheets on this page yourself, in any pool.

The exercises can help with pain reduction, joint mobility, overall fitness, feeling happier, and making it easier to do everyday activities.

If you have an unstable health condition, talk to your GP before starting the exercises.

Warm up and cool down handout

Warm up and cool down exercises

Fitness exercise sheet

Fitness exercises

Lower body exercise sheet

Lower body – joint mobility and strength exercises

Upper body exercise sheet

Upper body – joint mobility and strength exercises

Where to do water-based exercises

You can do the exercises in your own pool, or at a public pool.

Don't go to a public pool if:

When you arrive at a public pool, tell the life guard you’re there to do water-based exercises. They will show you where it's safest to do them.


It costs the same to do these exercises at a public pool as normal use of the pool.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created September 2019. Last updated October 2019.

Page reference: 674569

Review key: HIWBE-658712