You’re at the beach, or just tired of working out in the gym, or just looking for a new and refreshing way to get or stay in shape moving in water may be for you. Because it’s low impact and can easily be tailored to match your abilities, everyone from athletes to seniors can benefit from water exercise. Working out in the water can be a great way to gain cardiovascular stamina, improve strength and flexibility, enhance body contours, increase circulation, rehabilitate healing muscles, and control weight.
Taking Advantage of Water
You’re relieved of 90 percent of your body weight which frees you to move in new ways. You can float and relax without feeling like you’re putting out an effort. Yet water provides 12% to 14% more resistance than air, so moving through it is like having weights all around your body.
Burning Fat, Building Muscle
Best is to have swimming workouts in pools filled with warm water – 82 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 27-30°C) – versus typical ocean temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees (roughly 10-16°C) where your body will use the fat to keep the body warm. In the past, researchers have shown that some people who do rhythmic water exercise, such as water aerobics, are able to burn just as much fat and build just as muscle as they could in exercise programs.
Here are a few tips and points to keep in mind for vertical water workouts:
* Water supports the body and allows you to make larger movements than you can in the gym.
* Intensity increases as you increase the size and speed of your movements (which equals burning more calories).
* Sculling and downward movements of the hands create balance and control.
* Before you start using resistance devices, such as webbed hand mitts, make sure you are balancing your arms and legs to help coordinate and stabilize your moves.
* For good muscle balance, make movements that work the body all around in various planes while maintaining proper body alignment.
* To maintain alignment, keep your abdominals tight to support a long, upright spine and tuck your hips slightly under (particularly when moving backward).
* Drink plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration. You may not feel or see the effects of sweat or body heat.
Try these easy exercises in your pool:
* Jog toward one end of the pool and back.
* Jumping jacks: Starting with the legs together, jump out and back.
* Shoulder raises front and side.
* Scissor steps with alternate arm punches.
Enjoy your water fun!