Get Fit: Water Exercise
Swimming has always been something I’ve loved to do since I was a kid— you couldn’t get me out of the water during the summer! Even as an adult, there are benefits and exercises you can do in the water to stay fit and healthy without a lot of the stress on your body.
Swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the U.S. and is a great aerobic exercise. 2 to 3 hours a week of aerobic exercise like swimming can decrease risk of chronic illness, improve the health the health of people with diabetes and heart disease. People find water-based exercise more enjoyable and can exercise longer without joint or muscle pain.
The Perks of Water Exercise
- Resistance: There is constant resistance when you’re in the water. In fact between 12%-14% more resistance than on land. As an added bonus, the resistance caused by the water doesn’t allow sudden body movements.
- Buoyancy: When you submerge your body in water you automatically become lighter. In water up to your waist, your body bears 50% of its weight; go in a little further to your chest and the percentage drops to 25%-35%; and with water up to your neck, your body only has to handle 10% of its weight (90% is taken care of by the water). This is good because it means there is no pounding, jarring and harsh impact on your skeletal system.
- Cooling: Since water disperses heat better there is less chance of overheating. Water is constantly cooling your body making it more comfortable then exercising on land.
Benefits to your health:
- Builds endurance
- Your heart becomes stronger
- Improves physique
- Increases circulation
- Improve flexibility and strength
- Rehabilitates muscles and muscular balance
Social and Psychological Benefits:
- Fun even though you’re working hard
- Camaraderie with other swimmers
- Releases tension and stress
- Gives you a positive attitude
- More energy
So Many Options to Try
Water Running and Walking: Just like you would run on a treadmill or road, you can do the same in the water. You can go forward, backward, and side to side in waist to chest deep water.
Treading Water: This sounds easy but this will get your heart going which is good for the cardiovascular system. (Keep a moderate pace going for 20 minutes and you will have burned around 90 calories!) Just remember to keep a floatation device near, or stay close to something you can hold on to incase you need a break.
Water Aerobics: A lot of health clubs have all sorts of classes for all ages. Some classes that are often available are cycling with waterproof bicycles, yoga, kickboxing, and Pilates.
Lap swimming: Traditional lap swimming a very effective full-body workout. You can practice the breaststroke, sidestroke, backstroke, and freestyle. Even the good old ‘doggie paddle’ is a great workout. Laps can burn at least 500 calories in an hour, at a good pace of course.
Whether it’s in the pool or lake, water exercise is a great option for all people and ages. The variety of challenging, effective, and low-impact workouts will have you jumping in again and again.