Tone up while you cool down: Exercising in water
For many, slipping on a swimming costume and swimming a few lengths is the ideal form of exercise. For others, getting in the water may only appeal during the peak of summer. Regardless, the pool or even the sea can provide a great location and source of inspiration for your workout. Just don’t forget your sunscreen if you are outdoors and swim safely!
When it comes to maintaining a regular exercise regimen, it’s important to choose something you enjoy doing. Although there is no proof that exercising in water is better for you than exercising on land, several studies have shown water exercise to be more pleasing.
Here are a few great workout ideas that are sure to spice up your exercise routine. Just add water.
Swimming not only provides a good aerobic workout (for your heart and lungs), it’s also great for utilising the entire range of motion available in your shoulders, upper back and hips. Focus on certain muscle groups by using activity-based exercise equipment in the water. Or you can use a float to focus the workout on your legs. You can also position a small float between your thighs or ankles to focus the workout on your arms and eliminate the need to kick.
Walking in water
Swimming is certainly not your only aqua option. If you enjoy walking or jogging but need a cooler, more forgiving place to do it, look no further than your local pool. Water walking works well in waist- or chest-deep water—whether you’re walking on the bottom of the pool or in deep water with your body suspended. If you choose to walk in deeper water you’ll need a special vest that will help keep you afloat and upright. Your pool may have these on loan or for rent, or you could purchase your own through an exercise equipment store or website.
Once you’ve chosen your location, it’s as simple as a walk in the park. In deep water walking there’s no jarring on your joints whatsoever. In pool-bottom walking, the jarring lessens the deeper your body gets in the water. In addition, the water creates resistance as you move through it, raising your heart rate and increasing your muscle mass.
Another water-based option is aqua-aerobics. Many community pools and fitness centers have high-energy aquatic instructors who lead water aerobics at many levels. These instructors can help you adjust exercises to suit your fitness level as well as give you guidance regarding when you should advance to the next level.
The benefits of aqua-aerobics include improved cardiovascular fitness, strengthening and toning of the body and improved flexibility. Water provides extra resistance which further strengthens muscle groups.
Consult your healthcare professional before starting an exercise program.
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