Water polo is an intense sport where athletes are submerged in deep water where they can only swim above the surface. Think of it as a combination between soccer and basketball, but in a pool! The object of the game is to outscore your opponent. Players will do this by passing the ball among their teammates, across the pool, and into the opposing team’s goal. It is a popular sport in high schools, colleges, and even in the Olympic Games. It is vigorous, entertaining, and extremely fun to participate in.
Samir Becic, 4 times Number 1 Fitness Trainer in the world and HFR’s “Top 10 Health Benefits of Playing Water Polo:
- Burns calories – When you play water polo, you are guaranteed a non-stop, fat-burning workout. While in the water, you are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool, as it is one of the main rules of the game. This means your legs must be kicking constantly, treading water, in order to keep your upper body above water so that you may continue play the game. This constant movement burns calories and helps lead to weight loss.
- Cardio workout – All of this movement gets your heart pumping! To ensure proper heart health, one must partake in cardio workouts for at least 30 minutes each day. Getting your heart pumping higher than its resting rate each and every day in order prevents heart-related illnesses, repairs damage and can whip your heart back into shape. Water polo is an excellent way to do cardio training because of the constant exercise you partake in.
- Full-body workout – No part of your body sits still during a water polo game. You tread water with your legs, contort your body with your core, and you reach, catch, and throw with your arms. Muscle groups throughout your entire body are engaged, and with repeated activity they gain increased strength.
- High-resistance- The properties of water allow you to stay afloat in it, but they also mean that you have to exert quite a bit of energy to move against it. This extra resistance against your movement causes you to push your body against the flow of the water, and combines a cardiovascular workout with a strength workout. If you play water polo often, your body will easily tone right up!
- Builds endurance – As an intensive workout, water polo pushes the athletic boundaries of the player and increases their stamina and endurance. This is beneficial because it allows you to exercise for longer without becoming exhausted, making you a stronger athlete. One study conducted in 2001 found that taking part in exercises that increase endurance even has the ability to reduce oxidative stress.
- Cooling effect – Exercising in the water is a great choice because it keeps your body from getting overheated, which leads to feelings of exhaustion. Therefore, water polo, swimming, and other aquatic exercises allow you to exercise your body thoroughly without giving up. This provides for long, fulfilling workouts.
- Teaches strategy – In water polo, it is necessary to strategize with your team in order to overcome your competitors. Putting this into practice builds your mental strength, which will benefit you in all areas of life and reduce the stress you experience in the work environment and in your personal life.
- Injury prevention – Another great benefit of water sports is that water acts as a cushion for the body. Even when a player gets knocked around or dives hard for the ball, there is no hard surface to fall against, and the water prevents strain on the joints. Water polo is one of the only high-impact sports in which the injury rate is low, despite the vigor of the sport.
- Team sport – You are way more likely to come to practice when all your friends are there waiting on you. Team sports build accountability and make your exercise patterns much more regular. Regular exercise that fits into your daily circadian rhythm has large benefits for your metabolism, which burns fat and increases your overall health and fitness.
- Stress relief – Playing water polo, beating your legs to stay above the surface and throwing the ball with all of your upper body strength, you will literally feel the tension float away from you. Over time, your mental aggression grows physically in your body, making you feel tight and uncomfortable. Intensive exercise is one of the only ways to release this tension and water polo is a great source of this exercise.
For more of our top 10 health benefits, click here!