Exercising in the pool is a great way to add variety to your fitness routine. Improved muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness are just two of the many benefits you will gain from putting on your swimsuit and jumping into the water.
Aquafit offers an amazing low-impact, head-to-toe workout for beginners or seasoned exercisers. It’s also great for people who are recovering from knee or other injuries.
Buoyancy has Its Benefits
Neck-deep water supports 90 percent of your body weight and relieves stress on knee and hip joints. Pressure is released when a joint is submerged in water, encouraging freedom of movement through its full range of motion.
That makes aquatic exercise the ideal choice for those with arthritis or other chronic problems. The buoyancy of water also provides support for older individuals, decreasing the risk of injury due to falling.
Putting Up Resistance
The other interesting thing about water is that it provides resistance in multiple directions, with hydrostatic pressure exerted equally on all surfaces of the body. Movement in any side-to-side or forward-backward direction meets equal resistance, so that opposing muscle groups work equally. This means that the muscles in the front of the leg work when the leg is lifted forward and the muscles in the back of the leg work when the leg is lifted behind.
As a result you burn more calories when exercising in the water compared to exercising on land. A one-hour aquafit class burns nearly 400 calories, comparable to jogging at a pace of six to eight minutes per kilometre for the same length of time.
The next time you’re at the pool, try a deep-water workout or sign up for an aquafit exercise class at your local swimming pool.
- Begin aquafit exercises slowly and gradually increase the pace so that your body is prepared for your workout.
- Every time you bounce or jump, exhale at the point you are closest to the water. This
prevents sputtering if you accidentally swallow water.
- Make sure someone is always nearby in case of emergency.
- Avoid alcohol before a water workout as alcohol impairs balance, coordination, and
judgment, and it alters your body’s physiological response to exercise.
- Wait two to three hours after a big meal before attempting a difficult workout. A one-hour wait is acceptable for gentle workouts.
- Wear water-training shoes to prevent blisters on the soles of your feet.
Do-It-Yourself Deep-Water Workout
Stand in water as deep as your shoulders and repeat each of the following exercises 10 to 15 times.
Front / Back Pull
Works chest, upper back, and shoulders
What to Do
Extend arms straight out to sides with palms facing forward and fingers together. Sweep arms through the water to clap hands at chest level. Pull arms back to starting position.
- Use equal force in both directions of movement through the water.
- Keep the same hand position throughout.
Knees to Chest
Works the abdominals
What to Do
Stand at the side of the pool and stretch your arms to hold onto the edge. Contract your abdominals, bend your knees, and slowly lift them toward your chest. Slowly release the legs back to starting position.
- Keep tummy pulled in to maintain abdominal control.
Works chest, shoulders, and upper back
What to Do
Extend arms straight out to sides with palms facing down and fingers together. Pull arms down until your hands clap in front of your hips. Pull arms back to starting position.
- Use equal force as you pull down and up.
- Again, keep the same hand position throughout.
Works hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and inner and outer thighs
What to Do
Hold arms out to sides and stand with feet hip-width apart. Lift your right knee to your right hand. Lower and lift your left knee to your left hand.
- Be sure to lift your knee to your hand rather than dropping your hand to your knee.