You don’t have to be a great swimmer to benefit from a water workout!
If you are like me the daily fitness routine can be, shall we say boring? One of the big reasons we fall into a fitness rut is the repetitive nature of many exercise programs. Why not change things up and discover the benefits of Aqua fitness? Communities all over the country have added aquatics centers to keep up with the growing popularity of water fitness. I bet you can find one near you!
There are some serious benefits to exercise in the water, particularly for those of us who deal with health issues. Many chronic conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and osteoporosis can be improved by regular participation in water based exercise, and you can begin such a program regardless of your current level of fitness. Specialized warm-water programs are designed to loosen and sooth aching joints, and stretch over-tight muscles, improving your range of motion without causing pain. It’s amazing at how good that feels! Over time you will increase your flexibility and increase your strength.
Water exercise is resistance training- which is so important for the treatment of osteoporosis. Because you are supported by the buoyancy of the water around you can feel confident knowing there is no danger of falling. Working out in the water provides equal resistance to all your muscles as you push against the weight of the water itself. As your body strengthens as a result of the program, two things happen. First, you fight the effects of osteoporosis by the resistance training and can actually increase your bone density. Second, you will find a remarkable improvement to your balance. Better balance makes you less prone to falls and that is a really good thing!
Water work outs are great cardio vascular exercise as well. It’s really surprising how you can increase your heartrate and improve your circulation by simple moves in the water. One way to achieve this is by water walking (not walking ON the water, mind you, walking while IN the water!) Even if you are a non- swimmer, just get in the shallow end, and walk back and forth in the water for great cardio benefits. The deeper the water the greater the resistance, so the greater the cardio vascular effort. There is an extra boost here as well, and that comes from the hydro-static pressure on your body the water provides. That pressure increases the blood flow back to your heart, and helps drain lymphatic fluid at the same time. Eliminating fluid retention and increasing blood flow help improve your health and totally make you feel refreshed, not exhausted after your workout.
So, we know we can stifle joint and muscle pain, strengthen our bones, and improve our heart health while having fun in the water. Most water fitness classes are led by trained instructors qualified to suggest modifications to the difficulty of the moves based on your personal level of fitness. The classes are non-competitive and since you are in the water no one else will be staring at you if you mess up a move. Classes are usually accompanied by peppy music, and plenty of laughter to help keep the pace lively. Oh, and perhaps I forgot to mention how quickly you’ll notice the loss of pounds and inches as the benefits of your water workouts start to show! Sounds pretty good? Give it a try, you’ll be glad you did!