LIFTS AND THERAPEUTIC EQUIPMENT FOR AQUATIC ENVIRONMENTS

Universal/accessible design of the home from an occupational therapy and a construction perspective. This blog is part of a quest for cool, convenient, functional design that makes life safer, easier, and as maintenance-free as possible. It's about the lifestyle.
Shockwave Pool Bike 
Great post by Scott Anderle, some interesting pool equipment for working out or accessing a pool I never knew existed. 
 
As the winter months pass by with the cold and snow, I wanted to talk to you about some helpful equipment. Today there is a heavy push to utilize water as an avenue for both recreation and therapy.  Here is some interesting equipment you may not be aware of.

Home Living Experts (HLE) represents manufacturers who produce pool and spa lifts along with therapeutic exercise equipment. I have been amazed as to the number of facilities and personal homes that have pools and/or spas. Today, as I discuss pool and spa lifts, I will discuss those that HLE represents. However, there are many other manufacturers one can consider.



I want to begin by talking about lifts and some of the considerations regarding the purchase of these types of equipment. First, what are your goals for the lift? Is it for personal use or is it for a commercial application? If it is for personal use at a home, then one does not have to follow the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and its requirements. With that in mind, one will need to work with a manufacturer with quality products. Ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • What is the maximum weight capacity for this lift? Most manufacturers will begin at a 300 lb. weight capacity and go up to 500 lbs. of lift capacity. If it is an ADA lift, it will need to lift a minimum of 350 lbs.
  • The lift will go up and down as required by pushing a button on the control panel and or pumping a hydraulic lever on the unit, however will you want the lift to rotate around automatically (Scout Pool Lift) or do you want to manually push the client and the lift (EZ Pool Lift) into the proper position before lowering them into the water? The ADA requires the user to raise and lower them as well as have the lift rotate automatically. 
EZ Pool Lift
EZ Pool Lift

    Scout Pool Lift 
   Scout Pool Lift
  • As you look at where you are going to place your lift around the pool or spa, you will need to consider if you have the space needed as you approach it and sit down in the seat. If you are using an assistive device such as a wheelchair, you will want to have enough access to approach and do your transfer without difficulty. Each individual will have different capabilities. However, as a guide, on the side of the seat opposite the water, I would have a clear deck space allowing for 36" wide minimum and extend 48" minimum from a line located 12" behind the rear edge of the seat. The clear deck space should have a slope not steeper than 1:48". To read and view specific requirements for pools entry and exits, go to www.ADA.gov and enter accessible pools in the search box.
     
  • As you are considering what type of pool and/or spa lift to purchase, I would recommend going to www.AquaCreekProducts.com or www.AquaticAccess.com to begin your research. Many of the manufacturers will have dealers throughout the country. As you work with your dealer, he or she will require you to complete a Pool Profile. This will help answer a lot of questions about the who, what, where and whys of selecting a pool lift. 
     
  • Lastly, each pool and spa lift has different capabilities. One should always ask "What are the goals of the lift to be purchased?" One lift, called the "Revolution", by Aqua Creek Products, is unique in that it allows the user to use multiple devices with the lift such as a sling seat, wheelchair, gurney, cycle attachment and a spine board. Click here to view pictures of these accessories.
Revolution Pool Lift
Revolution Pool Lift


There are many applications that pool and spa lifts can be used for; you will need to work with a lift dealer to pick the correct one for your needs.

Next, I wanted to discuss equipment that can be used in your pool for enjoyment or therapy. There have been many studies done on the benefits of using an aquatic environment following an injury or disease process. One study that looked at osteoarthritis was reported in "The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research". In essence, it indicates that the aquatic environment was excellent to utilize with an exercise program when having osteoarthritis. Here are several links to articles discussing the benefits of using an aquatic environment.


Let's now look at several pieces of therapeutic and recreational equipment one might consider in their pool. First, is the aquatic pool bike. One should ask if this piece of equipment is for general enjoyment and conditioning, therapeutic activities or competition training. If it is for enjoyment or general conditioning, one might consider the Water Rider 3.
Water Rider 3 Pool Bike
Water Rider 3


This bike will allow the user the ability to build endurance and strength while enjoying the activity for pleasure.



The Water Rider 4, with its hydraulic and mechanical resistance, has 5 resistance levels and 4 AquaPalm pre-set speeds allowing the rider to work out for therapy purposes while measuring the increases along the way. This bike has a central key-adjustable mechanism to modify resistance, simulate inclines and increase the challenge of the workout.
Water Rider 4 Pool Bike
                                                Water Rider 4


Lastly, the Water Rider 5 can be used for competition training. This bike was inspired by the spinning fitness trend and offers man levels of resistance. The unique Pro System modifies the intensity of the wheel resistance with a multitude of levels, even inclines, just by turning a central knob.
Water Rider 5 Pool Bike
                                              Water Rider 5


There is also a new unique product call the Shockwave by Aqua Creek Products. This pool bike has 6 resistance levels making it versatile for many users. It is lightweight and folds for easy storage. It has a 300 lb. weight capacity and an optional recumbent seat and sport seat.

Shockwave Pool Bike

Shockwave Pool Bike

One can also consider the use of a manual underwater treadmill such as the "AquaJogg" by Aqua Creek Products. 

AquaJogg Underwater Treadmill 

AquaJogg

This type of walking or running is excellent for the joints. The water allows for even resistance while protecting the body from injury as the water buoyancy unloads the joints from compressive forces during the activity. Whether with a walking or running program, one can build up stamina in a safe manner. The AquaJogg also allows the user to elevate oneself for different inclines and the belt tension is adjustable as well. 


Lastly, one can utilize the underwater elliptical such as the "Elly" by Aqua Creek Products. 

Elly Underwater Elliptical

Elly Underwater Elliptical

This type of machine works the body in a unique way and provides a complete and synergetic muscle and cardio workout. It has two training options: one stationary, using the central fixed handlebar; the other using the oscillating handles for a more intense cardio workout. 

I hope this article has provided you with new ideas and ways to make your pool and spa experience more fulfilling and enjoyable.


As always, thank you and God bless.  

Scott Anderle, PT, CAPS

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