HAWC offers water rehabilitation

The Ramstein Health and Wellness Center, in collaboration with the physical therapy clinic and the Ramstein Aquatics Center, created a deep-water rehabilitation class Feb. 5. This class provides exercise alternatives for members medically restricted from high-impact exercise.

With the increasing number of profiles related to running injuries, the HAWC realized members need a medical referral-free fitness resource with the supervision of exercise professionals. Members perform various exercises designed to rehabilitate the member while providing a challenging exercise session. The zero-impact workout is very demanding and speeds up the rehabilitation process while maintaining and promoting cardio respiratory fitness.

“We have a number of Airmen who are very restricted when it comes to physical activity. Some of them are on no running, no walking, no push-ups and no sit-up profiles. In these cases, many individuals focus primarily on caloric restriction (dieting) and do not have much success,” said exercise physiologist Cesar Alvarez. “Relying solely on calorie restriction is not an ideal answer for weight issues, and the practice is difficult to sustain long-term. It also does nothing to maintain aerobic fitness or address the underlying medical condition.”

Alvarez, who recently PCSd to Ramstein from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., recommended the program and approached both physical therapy and the aquatics center for their support. Both Majs. Linda Schemm and Elissa Ballas in physical therapy have been very supportive in referring members to the course. Aquatics center director Dave Besuden and recreation specialist Angela Janssen were very open and accommodating in finding a day and time for the class within their schedule.

“Airmen with a host of injuries such as fractures of the tibia, fibula and foot, stress fractures, ligament injuries of the lower back, hips, knees and acute strains, sprains or disk herniation can self-refer to the class simply by providing a copy of their profile or they can be referred by their primary care manager or physical therapist,” Alvarez said. “The classes have proven to be quite grueling for our participants. So far, our participants feel really motivated.”

“The class was much more challenging than I expected it to be,” said participant Tech. Sgt. Charles Howhay, 693rd Intelligence Support Squadron. “I didn’t realize how much difficulty I would have balancing in the water. I will definitely be back and have already recommended it to my shop and other members of my squadron.”

Chief Master Sgt. Bill Taylor, Aircraft and Systems Maintenance Branch HQ USAFE A4MA superintendent, agreed and said it’s a great class.

“You don’t realize how much of a workout you are getting until you go to climb out of the pool and your legs are like rubber! Much more enjoyable then spending 50 minutes on the cross-trainer or treadmill,” he said. “Excellent exercise for folks that need to limit the impact of running. The exercises provide a full body workout.”

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Kaiser from the 721st Aerial Port Squadron said it’s a good class for those who want a workout that makes them sweat.

“I took the class and I was drained when it was done,” he said. “I will be returning, and I definitely recommend this class.”

The HAWC staff, one exercise physiologist and one health fitness specialist will lead the deep water exercise program. They will offer classes to military personnel from
10 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information, email 86amds.hawc@ramstein.af.mil or call the HAWC at 480-HAWC (4292).

(Courtesy of the 86th Aerospace Medical Squadron)