We may have some hot and stormy days ahead but there is a silver lining: the higher temperatures will make it more enticing to explore water-based exercises. If you feel you’ve reached a point in your life where your mind is willing to exercise but your body isn’t, getting fit through exercising in water may provide your solution. Swimming is not your only option.
Advantages of water-based exercise
- It’s a cool way to beat the heat. What could be more refreshing in the sticky summer months than being immersed in water while you exercise? In winter, a heated indoor pool can offer warm support and keep you comfortable.
- Swimmers half their risk of death compared to those who are inactive. However, you don’t have to swim laps to reap health benefits. Water is an ideal environment to build your strength and muscles in either shallow or deep water to match your comfort level with the water or fitness levels. Simply walking in water gives your heart and lungs more of a workout than walking on land and it may help with lowering blood pressure, especially for people who are new to exercise.
- While your heart and lungs are getting a good workout while exercising in water, your muscles are too. Water creates resistance in all directions. The resistance of water can be between 4 to 42 times greater resistance than the resistance to air. This resistance will help maintain your muscle mass and strength, directly improving the management of your blood glucose levels. It can also result in you doing more exercise without it stressing your heart, lungs or joints.
- When you’re standing in waist-deep water you are only supporting 50% of your body weight. Once you move to neck-deep water, 90% of your body weight is supported. You may find that you can perform exercises in water that you can’t do on land due to low fitness levels, pain in your joints, or muscle weakness.
All of these advantages of water-based exercise may help you to:
- Be more physically active and achieve the recommended level of exercise to help improve your health.
- Reduce age-related loss of muscle mass which occurs at a rate of 3 to 5% every 10 years after the age of 30.
- Better management of your blood glucose levels.
You don’t need much: a pair of swimmers and your body! Here’s some ideas if you’d like to know about the equipment available to create more resistance in the water, and increase the intensity of your workout:
- Wrist or angle weights. These strap-on weights can increase the resistance of your arm and leg movements in water.
- Foam dumbdells. Lightweight when dry, they become heavy when put in water.
- Hand paddles or resistance gloves. Both types of equipment can boost your strength training in water.
- A great tool for many drills, it allows you to hold on and stay afloat while doing core and lower body workouts.
- Buoyancy belt. This can be used for deep water running and doing arm exercises without having to tread water.