By Stacy Vanzant – Certified Personal Trainer
Ahh yes, it’s time for the pool, but this summer take a different approach to the pool and try some aqua fitness. Sure, we all love to have a lazy day relaxing on a comfortable raft and float around the pool, but try getting those feet to the bottom or taking a few laps to stay healthy.
Aqua fitness is making a big comeback because of its vast health benefits. Water fitness is great for every person. Young or young at heart, healthy and active to those with medical conditions, the pool is perfect for everyone.
There are so many benefits to aquatic fitness that it’s almost a no-brainer when selecting from your fitness options. Water fitness is beneficial because it is low impact, gives buoyancy, adds resistance, lowers your heart rate (versus the same land-based exercises), and is non-load bearing.
One of the most appealing parts to water fitness is that it’s a low impact strength and cardiovascular option. Land-based exercises come with stress on muscles and joints and can result in soreness, stress fractures, and even injury. A water environment can provide deep water running or even strength and cardio burn exercises through aerobics that are more forgiving to the body and are just as effective and enjoyable.
Because it’s a great low-impact exercise, many people often find water fitness to be a great option for rehabilitation and accident recovery. Research shows that individuals who exercise following an injury or operation have a speedier recovery. The combination of buoyancy and an underwater treadmill allows you to walk or run at comfortable pace without the fear of falling. It’s also great for those wanting more resistance with their fitness training.
Water’s buoyancy eliminates the effect of gravity, thus reducing impact, and allows for greater flexibility. A 140 pound female would only weigh 14 pounds when in water. When running on a treadmill or doing land-based exercises, her joints, muscles, and tendons would take the entire weight load during her exercises. She now can reduce that load on her body by doing the same exercises in water with the same benefits.
Keeping Your Heart Happy
One of the many great benefits of water exercise is your heart rate. Exercising while immersed in water enables your heart to work more efficiently because the pressure of water pushes equally on all body surfaces. This is called “hydrostatic pressure” and it’s beneficial because as you work in water, the pressure helps your heart circulate blood easier by aiding blood flow back to the heart. Heart rates can average between 10 – 15 beats per minutes less than when exerting the same effort on land.
Just because you have lower heart rates when doing water exercises does not mean you are burning fewer calories. Actually, you burn more calories in the water than on land. Water has more resistance than air, forcing the body to work harder and ultimately burning more calories.
An August 2007 research study conducted by Texas A & M University found that underwater treadmill use burned more calories than land-based treadmills at speeds of four miles per hour or greater. Also, participants involved in the study gained more muscle mass and lost more body fat than those using traditional treadmills.
More than likely you don’t have access to an underwater treadmill, so what does this mean for you? Get those feet to the bottom of the pool. Jog around the pool! If you start to find that you are getting blisters on the bottom of your feet, invest in a pair of pool shoes. Get to the bottom of the pool with your toes and get moving. You’ll burn more calories than walking on a treadmill for the same amount of time.
Weights, Squats and Laps
Resistance from the water will help you build muscle as well. Try doing squats with both feet on the bottom of the pool. You can also do common exercises like lunges, mountain climbers, high knees and even jumping jacks in the water. These will help get your heart pumping and burn off unwanted calories. Of course, swimming laps is a common and most widely known way to exercise in the pool.
Regardless of the size or structure of your pool, swimming a few laps each day will help keep you healthy and aid in better flexibility.
Adding water weights is another great way to help build muscle while enjoying the water. Make sure to use only water safe weights to prevent decay and damage to your pool.
If you don’t have a pool in your backyard, there are various locations throughout Davidson County that you can find one to use. Local exercise facilities offer day passes if you’re not a member, so there’s no excuse to not give these workouts a try!
Water Worx 1 – Low Impact
10 Basic Squats
10 Walking Lunges each leg
30 Seconds Standing Mountain Climbers
10 Push-ups (on side of pool wall)
10 Triceps Dips (hands propped on pool wall, ladder or stairs with feet touching water)
Repeat 3 times
Water Worx 2 – High Intensity
10 Squat Jumps
50 Meter Lap Sprint
30 Seconds High Knees
30 Seconds Reverse Lunge Jumps
50 Meter Lap Sprint
30 Second Split Jumps
Repeat 3 times
http://www.prweb.com/releases/2007/08/prweb546440.htm – Texas A & M University Research Study