The health benefits of water sports
Summer is the time of year when water sports come into their own, the longer evenings and warmer weather usually have most of us thinking about toning up and hitting the beach! Research at Baylor University Medical Centre has shown that those who take to the water enjoy their workouts more than those that stay on dry land. Because of the waters low impact resistance, it stops you feeling tired as quickly, this means that you can work out for longer. Partaking in water sports is great exercise because it works almost every part of the body, so great for burning calories and toning up. It is also gentle, which is why water exercise is often used to help people and animals with certain injuries and joint ailments; hydrotherapy is used as a physiotherapy treatment, where the patient does gentle exercises in warm water. Because water supports your weight, it helps relieve aches and pains in your joints, and the resistance of water improves muscle strength when pushing arms and legs against it.
The health benefits of water sports are vast. The activities are usually outdoors, so you get to breathe fresh air and be at one with nature – giving you the feel good factor, lifting your spirits and energizing you. Water exercise will decrease the risk of chronic disease. Increasing your metabolism, your fluid intake and appetite, which helps you to avoid binge eating.
Did you know that just floating in water will help lower mental stress levels? Yes, just laying back in water will make you feel relaxed, relieving stress, anxiety and depression. Lower stress levels are good for heart and body in general. Fluidity of water is gentle and soothing on joints, activities such as snorkelling and swimming will make it easier to use the affected joints without exacerbating the symptoms.
Water activities can also help maintain bone density, this is because it increases nerve stimulation and blood flow to your bones – making nutrients flow to bone cells, build-up collagen content and stimulate bone building cells. Whether you are into paddling in the water or extreme adrenalin pumping water sports, the activities that you do in the water are fun and beneficial to health and wellbeing.
Swimming or walking in the water reduces the pressure on your back and knees. Kathy Stevens of WebMD states:
“To appreciate why water training works so well, you need to understand waters unique properties. In water, you have almost no gravity. You’re relieved off 90% of your body weight, so you become buoyant. This frees you to move in new ways. You can float, bob and relax without feeling like you’re putting out an effort. Yet the water provides 12 to 14 percent more resistance than air, so moving through it is like having weights all around your body.”
According to the American Council on Exercise, your heart rate will be reduced by as much as 17 beats per minutes compared to a land workout. With overwhelming evidence, it goes to show that exercising in water is extremely beneficial for your health and fitness.