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Swimming has been a prescribed exercise by doctors for a variety of issues such as arthritis, joint and muscle stiffness, chronic back pain, and post-surgical rehabilitation for a long time. It’s been known to be particularly helpful for seniors who are less flexible and who may be suffering from a variety of age related conditions. As an exercise for weight reduction, swimming engages the cardiovascular system while being kind to the skeletal structure. Muscles become stronger, flexibility is increased, and fat is burned. When compared to running, for instance, a 10 minute swim can be equivalent to a 30 minute run without putting excessive pressure on the spine, muscles and joints.
With that said, what’s good for us is also good for our beloved dogs. Veterinarians agree that swimming/aqua-therapy can be beneficial for senior dogs that are arthritic and suffer from stiffness in their joints, post-surgical dogs recovering from neurological or orthopedic injuries, soft tissue injuries, degenerative diseases such as hip dysplasia and muscle weakness. Overweight or obese dogs can shed pounds through regular swim sessions (in conjunction with diet). Healthy dogs and canine athletes will increase their endurance and maintain cardiovascular fitness while strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility and range of motion.
Aqua therapy is good for all dogs with one caveat – those with injuries, recovering from surgery, suffering any sort of pain, or those that don’t know how to swim need to be monitored – a certified professional canine aqua therapist can provide the direction needed to manage all the conditions that require attention to maximize the benefit for the dog. If you find that you are called to work in this rewarding field and are looking for training opportunities to become certified, please visit www.caninefitnessinstitute.com. The inaugural class will be held Nov. 12th – Nov. 17th.