Make a Splash with a Water Workout

water workouts
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Water workouts are a great option to improve mobility, boost fitness, and lose weight. Walk, run, spin, or swim—indoor pools have it all.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), swimming is the fourth most popular sport in the United States. Swimming laps has traditionally been a great way to stay in shape and improve cardiovascular health. In recent years, the lap pool has taken a backseat to an expanding exercise industry focused on water workouts.

Four Great Reasons to Get Back in the Water

Indoor and outdoor water parks, wave pools, and water slides offer a great diversion for children and young adults looking for a wet, wild afternoon. While water adventure parks and lap pools hold a lot of interest for some, others are looking for low impact, high access fitness choices. Water workouts are a great option for a couple of reasons:

  1. Ease: For adults with any kind of mobility issue, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or joint pain, water workouts offer a gentle way to maintain and extend fitness.
  2. Comfort: Indoor pools are usually heated. The warmth decreases pain and stiffness associated with some chronic illnesses and conditions.
  3. Fun: Water workout classes now incorporate most moves you make in a gym class—giving you a great workout, without the stress, heat, and frustration of some gym settings.
  4. Fabulous: Water workouts are all about reducing your chances of injury, increasing strength, offering a great cardio workout, and losing excess weight.

    Because water supports most of your weight, water exercise is much easier on your joints. Pool exercises give you a chance to regain flexibility and muscle mass you might have lost through inactivity, illness, or injury.

    What Can You Do in the Water?

    Unlike a gym, most people approach a swimming pool with a sense of fun.

    Because water workouts are less stressful on the body, you might be more inclined to stick with a water class over the long term.

    Here are some activities you can expect in an organized water class, or for work on your own:

    • Jogging or running: Water running or aqua jogging burns more calories than jogging around your neighborhood. Serious runners might be interested in deep water running which does not allow the feet to touch the ground—and provides a totally non-impact workout.
    • Side exercises: There are a number of pool exercises you can do while at poolside or standing in the shallows, including leg lifts, squats, dips, cycling your legs, small jumps, kicks, weight work, and lunges, among others.
    • Underwater cycling: Water cycling—like a spin class but in the water—is becoming popular. Using waterproof bicycles, spin moves are modified for a gentler ride, but a challenging workout.

    With these or other offerings like Aqua Zumba and aerobics, you can start a fitness routine, or cross train for resistance without worrying about weather in the stable environment of an indoor pool.

    Water Workout Tips for Safety and Comfort

    • Know your pool: Just like you would check out a health club, or yoga studio, take a good look at the pool before class. If working out on your own, know where the pool slopes and water changes depth. Ask about pool maintenance and water treatment.
    • Drink water: Drinking water while exercising is important—even if your workout is in the water.
    • Wear water shoes: For aqua running, spinning, or workouts, aquatic shoes or sandals are a great idea.
    • Stay at waist high: Use a flotation belt to keep your upper torso comfortably out of the water.  Many pools or swim classes provide access to flotation belts, but you can always bring your own. Weights, noodles, and other equipment are usually provided in specialized water workout classes.
    • Keep your own pace: As with any workout, do not overwork even when you are experienced. If you over exert, do not push through pain, nausea, or dizziness—exit the pool immediately and sit or lay down poolside. Be aware of whether a life-guard is on duty while you are working out.  If solo, consider finding a workout partner.

    Look for water fitness classes at a local YMCA, community pool, or health club. Just like yoga, or a gym class, try out different venues and teachers until you find what works for you. Forget the gym, it is time to hit the pool!

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