You know all those aquatic exercise classes seen in so many public and club pools? Those wouldn’t exist today without Ruth Sova, an entrepreneurial and enthusiastic advocate of aquatic therapy during the past 25 years.

She started the Aquatic Exercise Association in 1987 to share information and best practices. In 1994, she established the Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute, a Naples, Fla.-based organization that provides training in aquatic therapy to nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and other health care professionals.

Today, aquatic exercise is considered an effective way to treat and manage athletic injuries, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain and more.