Water exercising has seen a surge in popularity over the last few years. In the past, as far as for exercise, it was mostly used in hospitals as a part of rehabilitative therapy. However, these days, more and more gyms are offering built-in swimming pools where members can take part in water aerobic classes, aka aquarobics classes, or just do their own exercises in the pool.
Usually, exercises such as jumping jacks, knee to chests, treading water, water walking, etc. are used to improve strength and coordination. Sometimes pool noodles made of foam and/or aquatic exercise dumbbells are used as tools for added resistance.
Let’s take a look at 10 benefits of water exercise and how it can help you.
1. Water Exercise is Low impact
The biggest benefit of water exercise is that it’s easy on your joints. That makes it ideal for those who have weak or painful joints. Seniors will be able to exercise in water even if they have arthritis or painful conditions that prevents them from engaging in strenuous activities such as running or cycling. In fact, many pools have water classes specifically for those with arthritis. Usually the water is warmer than that of the main pool. The buoyancy of the water alleviates pressure on the joints and makes movement easier. That means some movements will be less painful to do in water than on land. Some good examples would be jumping jacks, knee lifts, or jogging in place.
2. Promotes Weight Loss
Water exercise may seem mild and you’ll not feel like you’re sweating, although it can and does happen! Ask me how I know! But since you’re moving in the water, you’ll still be burning calories. In fact, if you’re on a daily caloric deficit and want to lose weight with exercise while not torturing yourself on the treadmill, water exercise will do the job for you.
3. Increases Muscle Strength
Water also acts as a form of resistance. If you’ve tried running in water, you’ll know just how exhausting it can be. Working out in the water is a form of resistance training and will strengthen your muscles. The great thing about water resistance is that it works in both directions. You’ll feel resistance as you move your arms forward and as you move them backwards, and as you move them up through the water, and down through the water. And so on, with all parts of your body. Using foam pool noodles or foam dumbbells that soak up water will allow you to add ‘weights’ and added resistance to your training. If you’d like to challenge yourself further, you can use push plates or ViPRs.
4. Increases Cardiovascular Endurance
If you’re engaged in water aerobics, you’ll elevate your heart rate. This is a form of cardio. Very often people assume that cardio is only restricted to traditional activities such as running, jogging, cycling, swimming, etc. The truth is that as long as you’re elevating your heart rate for a prolonged period of time, it will be cardio in nature… and water aerobics does a great job at working your heart and lungs.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
The pressure in the water will also aid in your blood circulation and help to lower blood pressure. This is the reason why people with hypertension are often told to swim more often.
Not only will they get the benefits of exercise, but the water buoyancy will allow them to exercise longer without taxing their heart.
6. Improves Your Flexibility
Since water makes movement easier by relieving pressure on your joints, you’ll often find that your range of motion increases because there is less pain. This will help to make you nimbler and more flexible, even when out of the water. The constant changes in movement and direction coupled with the body having to cope with the water resistance will cause your joints and muscles to increase their range of motion to cope with the new demands.
7. The Water Can Ease Chronic Pain
The resistance of the water acts as a gentle massage to your body. And we all know that massages can help relieve stiffness, soreness, and pain. The massaging effect of the water can relieve or lessen pain in your hips, knees, back, and other joints. Pregnant women can also benefit from water exercise, as it’s very helpful in relieving their back pain. Anyone suffering from soreness due to extensive physical activity should definitely give it a try, too.
8. Improves Body Posture
Along with the improved flexibility and mobility exercising in the water gives you, it will also benefit your posture. The water supports your body, including any weak muscles, and if you are carrying any extra pounds, that tissue will “float” in the water. Both will relieve stress from your joints, muscles, and tendons. The water resistance will also make you notice your posture more, and the buoyancy of the water will help you maintain your balance while standing in the water.
9. Improves the Spine
Water exercise can be of immense therapeutic value if you have back pain, scoliosis, or other spinal problems, or if you are beginning to get a dowager’s hump, or hunch over due to aging. The buoyancy of the water will allow you to be able to lengthen your spine to its natural length without causing any discomfort. Water aerobics and water exercise has been shown to have significant benefits on the lumbar spine. A 12-week study on individuals whose spinal columns were progressively narrowing, showed that water exercise helped improve their condition significantly.
10. It’s Fun!
Water exercise can also be fun and a group activity. Unlike running or swimming which are mostly solitary activities, there are many gyms and pools that have water aerobics group classes conducted by a trained instructor. Joining these classes and working out with other people will build a sense of camaraderie and there can even be moments of laughter. Exercise doesn’t have to be grim and mind-numbing. Your can have fun while burning calories too.
These 10 benefits above are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle for years and wish to ease into an exercise regimen, starting off with water exercise will ensure that your body slowly gets used to more activity. There will be less chance of injury and water exercise is usually more fun than the other types of training that leave you gasping and soaking with perspiration. Give water exercise a try and you may love it enough to want to train daily.