Relaxing in the pool sounds pretty good right now huh? I find it always does when I don’t have to put loads of layers on afterwards. Jeans, tshirt and flip flops and I’m ready to go home after my swim! In winter its more cumbersome but I try to keep it easy with post swim clothing of jeans, hoodie and my trusty slip on snow boots. In fact this all sounds so simple I really should go swimming more often!
Getting a bit more physical in the water and adding pool aerobics to your exercise routine. Why? Because not only do water workouts avoid much of the strain you’d feel on land, they can be incredibly intense. How else did you think Michael Phelps and the other Olympic swimmers got so incredibly toned?
Here are some of the many ways that you can benefit from water exercises:
This is actually one of the main reasons that water workouts got a bit of a bad name, because they are often recommended for pregnant women and older adults. But do you know who else uses them? Rehabbing professional athletes. Low-impact does not mean lowered results, just that you are getting a great workout without putting unnecessary strain on your body. Obviously it’s great for anyone who needs to take a bit more care, but for those in perfect health, it just means less wear and tear.
Pool exercises may seem incredibly easy on dry land, but the average water aerobics class burns 400 to 500 calories per hour.
Work your core
Water is the perfect place to exercise your core in a way that doesn’t cause undue strain. Many classes incorporate abdominal exercises, as well as things like water walking, kicks, and bicycling.
Build strength faster
Water is 12 times more resistant than air, so simply moving around in the pool is an exercise. Even better, swimming works all of your muscles to some degree, because when you’re enveloped in water, every part of your body is under the same amount of pressure. Add in pool “tools” like noodles, buoys, water paddles, and kickboards and you can really work those muscles.
Increase range of motion
There are plenty of range of motion exercises that you can do on dry land, but then you’re competing with gravity. The weightlessness of water allows you to move your arms and legs with ease without causing problems in your joints.
Go easier on your heart
Take a mile-long jog and it may take your heart a few minutes to settle back down into a restful rhythm. But if you work out in an equivalent manner in a pool, your heart will return to rest much more quickly.
Breathe (and beat) better
Not only are water exercises “easier” on your heart in the way described above, they can actually help to increase the level of fitness for your heart and lungs because you will be constantly “exercising” by swimming in the water. This increases their endurance without forcing them to strain.
Immersing ourselves in water has been shown to increase circulation by soothing and relaxing the body.
We keep dancing around it (other than the mention of professional athletes using water workouts in the beginning), but pool exercises are a fantastic way to stay active and rehab parts of your body without putting it through too much stress. That is one of the main reasons that pregnant women and older adults use it, but that doesn’t have to make it a negative thing. Pool exercises are just as effective as those on land – and sometimes more so! – without many of the negative aspects.
This content was adapted from an article by Ken Campbell who has written for the health and fitness industry for many years.