Water exercises for fitness
If you are looking for change in your aerobic exercise routine, and have access to a pool, it is a great idea to try water exercises. Running, jogging and walking underwater in a pool not only strengthens the leg and hip muscles but helps to maintain and develop cardio respiratory fitness.
The major benefit to exercising in the water is that it protects your joints from wear and tear. And if you are arthritic, it reduces the stress on your joints.
Water running eliminates the shock impact on your joints. Experts believe the buoyancy water reduces the impact on your joints by over 85 per cent.
Most water exercise classes can be broken down into two main groups:
1. Aqua aerobics
Although generally more low-impact than land-based aerobics, these classes offer fat-burning and endurance-building benefits one would similar to those from land based aerobic activity. The classes will include exercises like jogging, kicking, jumping, squats, and dance movements.
The main benefits of this type of exercise are:
- Great for all fitness levels
- Good for weight loss / fat burning
- Builds strength and flexibility
- Excellent cardio-respiratory exercise
2. Aqua exercise – resistance / strength training
These classes are aimed at improving tone, strength and mobility. The main advantage of exercising in water is that it offers resistance in all directions, compared to land exercises where you work only against gravity. Because of the cushioning effect that water provides, this form of exercise is particularly beneficial to anyone at risk from bodily stress, including the elderly, overweight, or those recovering from soft tissue injury. Its benefits include:
- Increased aerobic endurance
- Greater flexibility
- Increased muscle tone
If you don’t have classes in your area, a simple way of incorporating water exercise into your regular fitness regime is simply walking, jogging or running in water. You can start this by walking through the shallow end of a pool, increasing the depth to waist- or chest-level as your fitness increases. You will find your legs toning up, stronger hips, and increased cardio-respiratory fitness levels.
- High calorie burning during and after a workout
- Renewed energy levels
- Stress and tension get released
- Exercising in water requires you to support only 50% of your body weight, making exercises easier to perform
- You don’t need any special equipment, although there is a range of equipment available for increasing variety, fitness and helping with floatation if required
- Water’s buoyancy lowers the risk of stress-related injuries that some land exercises have
- The water’s resistance against your movements results in a higher workout intensity compared to land exercises
Water exercise is commonly advocated for people with the following conditions:
- Back pain
- Joint problems
- Soft-tissue injury
- Cardiac patients
Image: Flickr Creativecommons hectorir
The author is a Sports Performance Enhancement Specialist