Are you looking for exercise ideas? Whether you are brand new to exercising or a seasoned fitness guru, you should pull out that swimsuit from the bottom drawer and take a plunge into the pool for your next workout. The pool isn’t just for swimmers – water exercise is for everyone! In fact, it’s one of the best low-impact fitness activities you can do, thanks to the beneficial properties of water.
The fact that water has buoyancy means that your bones and joints will not be under nearly as much stress or absorb as much impact as they would on land. ACE Fitness states that water reduces your weight on land by about 90%. If you have suffered from injuries from higher impact land exercises like jumping, running, and walking, or if you have other musculoskeletal complications like arthritis or joint pain, consider transferring your routine to the pool.
Ever suffered from lower back pain? Try strengthening your lower back and core in the water. The water supports your body while providing resistance that helps you build strength. What makes water an amazing place for resistance training is that water molecules are so attracted to each other that they create a much denser environment than in air. Essentially, any time you move through the water you must exert your own force on the pre-existing force created by the water. For example, if I swung my arm down and through water in the pool, it would take more effort than if I swung my arm through the air in the gym.
The Benefits of Water Aerobics
Aerobic conditioning can happen easily in the water if done correctly. Yes, it is possible to get your heart rate up in the water. And believe it or not, you will sweat. You won’t know it, though, unless you feel it dripping down your temples (as several of my Aqua X class participants at O2 Fitness North Chatham have experienced during some of our intense interval sessions) since the sweat from your body will become one with the pool water. But if you don’t believe me, try going hard in the water for an hour without drinking any water and just let me know how you feel afterward.
Water exercise can be done in shallow and deep water. For the lowest impact exercise possible, exercising while being completely suspended in water is your best bet – and it isn’t easy! Talk to anyone who has ever tried to “deep water run” across a pool without any assistance from a floatation device. Shallow water provides less buoyancy than deep water, but still supports your body and can increase your mobility through the water, since your feet are touching the ground. Both offer different types of resistance and benefit but are equally fabulous.
Water Workouts for Both the Young and Old!
Often when I talk to people about working out in the water, they most often will mention that their grandmother goes to a weekly aqua aerobics class, or that an athlete they knew in college broke his leg during an event and was forced to rehab in the pool. So what does this mean – only injured football players and their grandmas are supposed to do this stuff? No! If we think about it in a different light, and consider just how these folks are benefiting from it and why they are doing it, why on earth would the rest of us not consider it as well?
Guess what? You can benefit from training all aspects of your overall fitness by exercising in the water – cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, balance, flexibility, agility, coordination, and more. And what’s amazing is that you are only limited by your imagination in the water. Most exercises on land are transferable to water fitness in some way, even if they have to be slightly modified. In teaching my Aqua X classes at O2 Fitness North Chatham, I have told my dedicated participants that I strive to incorporate at least one brand new move every single week. This not only keeps class interesting, but also keeps our bodies in a state of muscular confusion which leads to faster muscular adaptations and therefore faster results. (Hey, by the way, that concept is also transferable to land based exercise!)
Incorporating Equipment into Water Aerobics
Often, water exercise can incorporate equipment like foam dumbbells and noodles, which provide an incredible amount of resistance in water despite being virtually weightless on land, and other things like kickboards, paddles, resistance bands, flippers, and specially made water gloves that magically give us webbed hands. But you don’t need any equipment at all to experience the benefits of water exercise. Let your body be your weapon, and let the battle begin.
O2 Fitness North Chatham currently offers a full Aqua program in their indoor pool!