The biological effects of immersion in water, which are related to the fundamental principles of hydrodynamics, may be beneficial in certain training contexts. The effects and physical properties of water, such as density, hydrostatic pressure and buoyancy are highly useful resources for training, when used as a counterbalance to gravity, resistance, a compressor and a thermal conductor. Not only does the aquatic medium enable a wider range of activities to be used in a context of low joint impact, but it also constitutes a useful tool in relation to sports rehabilitation, since it allows the athlete to return to training earlier or to continue with high-intensity exercise while ensuring both low joint impact and greater comfort for the individual concerned. Moreover, this medium enables the stimulation of metabolic and neuromuscular systems, followed by their corresponding physiological adaptations allowing both to maintain and improve athletic performance. Hydrotherapy can also play a beneficial role in an athlete’s recovery, helping to prevent as well as treat muscle damage and soreness following exercise.
Key words: aquatic training, rehabilitation, recovery.
Journal of Human Kinetics, 2014, 44 [InPress].