Get healthy with water exercise
Drinking filtered water offers many benefits to our internal bodily functions as well as our external skin, but exercising in water can offer us many great benefits too.
Water exercise doesn’t have to be confined to early morning water aerobics in the swimming pool during the summer holiday, or for getting rid of ‘saddlebags’ leading up to a holiday. Swimming is probably the best all-round exercise you can do, but on the rise is another form of water-based workout: water exercise.
For many people, such as the elderly or injured athletes, conventional exercise is not possible due to debilitating conditions such as:
- Muscle strain/ tears
Taking exercise in water however can not only relieve lower back and neck pain, but it can also strengthen and condition the muscle groups responsible for the pain.
In addition to these treatments, water exercise is also beneficial for blood pressure management. Diabetes sufferers also often find that their symptoms become much more manageable with aquatic exercise.
The soothing effect of water exercise
Whilst conventional exercise can cause increased pain through contact with a hard surface, water provides a much gentler, more agreeable setting. Whilst treatment programmes and tailored exercise plans offer the same benefits as conventional exercise, water exercise offers a lot more:
- Buoyancy: water helps to support body weight which can aid flexibility of limbs and improve body strength and balance.
- Viscosity: the resistance of water allows for gradual strengthening and conditioning of an injury without risk of further injury.
- Hydrostatic pressure: water exercise is very useful for cardiovascular work. This improves blood circulation.
Some basic techniques
The good thing about water exercise is the ability to tailor the exercise to any level of mobility or fitness. The low impact movement can result in dynamic weight loss, body toning and improved fitness. The following are a few sample exercises which form part of a routine:
- Water walk warm up: a few minutes of simple water walking with slow strides back and forth while swinging your arms.
- Knee-to-chest: standing on one, slightly bent leg, hold onto the side of the pool and bend the knee up to the chest. This strengthens and stretches the muscles in the leg, hip, and lower back, whilst preventing damaging pressure on the lower back.
- Leg raises: same stance as the knee to chest exercise but this time, raise the leg up and down.
- Squats: whether on leg or two legs, squats are so much easier in water.
Altogether feeling of wellness
The benefits of hydrotherapy to sports people is consistently on the increase but the benefits of water exercise to the general public should not be ignored. The advisors at swimmingpool.com inform us that:
“The average thirty minute pool workout burns approximately 300 calories. It takes the elimination of 3500 calories to burn off a pound of body fat.”
Water exercise helps to build up cardiovascular rate and improve muscle tone and flexibility of limbs. The warm, calming properties of water also help many people to alleviate stress and pain.
Many gyms and health centres are now extending conventional exercise classes into water, and it’s not uncommon these days to see a spin class being held in a swimming pool. So next time you think about joining a gym, why not join one with a pool and think water exercise, not just watersports?
[Photo by Kenny Holston]