Using pools and water as a means of exercising can be very beneficial to your body and your workout routine. You can use your time in the pool doing laps, or even water aerobics. What? Water aerobics? No, it’s not just for “old” people, but for anyone looking for a new challenge and a great way to cross train. We’ll get into that later, but first let’s start with the benefits of water.
Exercising Benefit #1: Buoyancy
Buoyancy is defined as “the upward thrust exerted by water on a body that is completely or partially immersed.” Water acts as a cushion for your weight-bearing joints. In the water, weight bearing may range from 0-50% depending on the water depth and body position. This is great for preventing or rehabbing an injury.
Exercising Benefit #2: Hydrostatic Pressure
Water acts almost like an elastic bandage, assisting in improved blood and fluid flow, this decreasing swelling and fluid retention. This also provides a natural relief of injured or sore areas, and providing support.
Exercising Benefit #3: Analgesia
That’s right, water can help reduce pain! It helps to de-sensitize us from pain.
Exercising Benefit #4: Resistance
Water is a natural, multidimensional training machine that can be instantly adjustable. Simply by pushing or pulling harder, more resistance is achieved.
Exercising Benefit #5: Joint Loading and Unloading
Depending on water depth, joints can have a reduced load up to 50% or unloaded in deep water. Using shallow water and reduced load on the the joints can allow individuals to exercise more intensity without extra wear and tear on the joints, or as a stepping stone to return to full activity on land. Deep water, or fully unloaded exercise is great for strengthening core and improving posture.
Cross Training in the Water
Whether you are bored with your current routine, or are looking for a way to increase intensity in your current routine, water exercise may be the answer you are looking for! Modifying your current routine in the water can bring a new dimension to your workout. You’ll be surprised at the intensity and results you’ll get. If you have access to a deep water pool, try water running. Using a flotation belt to keep you suspended, you can effectively cross train and maintain your running without the impact and wear and tear on your knees and feet. Ask a personal trainer how to use water dumbbells, paddles, bands and pool noodles, and how to adapt them to the water.
By Melissa Radmer, Group Exercise & Fitness Director at Elite Sports Club-West Brookfield
Melissa Radmer has been a part of the Elite Sports Clubs team since 2002 and is now the Fitness & Group Exercise Director at the West Brookfield location. She holds a BS in Exercise Physiology and Exercise Leadership, as well as certifications as a personal trainer, Les Mills instructor, spinning, zumba, pilates and gravity training. She has a passion for multi-sport and endurance events, including half-marathons, triathlons, and the infamous Tough Mudder. Her main areas of focus are sports performance training, cardiovascular programming, and post-injury training.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.