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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Water-based exercises

Ngā kori tinana ā-wai

Older lady enjoying water exerciseWater-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 and overall fitness. They can also make you feel happier and make it easier to do everyday activities.

If you have an unstable health condition, talk to your general practice team 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 print the exercise sheets and do the exercises in your own pool or at a public pool.

Do not go to a public pool if:

When you arrive at the pool, tell the lifeguard you are there to do the water-based exercises. They will show you where it is safest to do them.


It costs the same to do these exercises at a public pool as normal use of the pool. You can get a discounted rate by buying a concession card.

If you have a disability, you might be eligible for the Christchurch City Council Hāpai Access Card. The card gives a discounted entry to Canterbury-region pools and facilities. Find if you are eligible via the council website.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed February 2024.


Page reference: 658712

Review key: HIKEA-53695