Water, water everywhere! Working out in the water is one of the most therapeutic activities. Water aerobics builds cardio, strength and resistance all while being easy on the joints and in a cool and relaxing atmosphere! Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
- Increase muscle strength – Water is a flowing and constantly changing product of nature, and as such can be very unpredictable in its movements. Since water flows in multiple directions, the resistance in the pool can range from four to 42 times greater than air, ensuring the body’s muscles get a rigid workout. In fact, a study conducted in 2007 found that after 12 weeks of regular aquatic aerobic exercise, participants had made significant gains in strength, flexibility, and agility.
- Build endurance – Unlike traditional weights, which require the human body to push and pull against the weight plus gravity, water resistance is a more natural resistance which requires the body to strain through the water rather than against it.
- Increases flexibility – As the body is subject to water resistance during water aerobic exercise – which requires movement in various directions while adjusting to the push and pull of water – the joints naturally increase their range of motion. A study conducted in 2013 found a significant increase in flexibility after subjecting a group of older adults to aerobic therapy exercise.
- Low-impact exercise – We may not often think of it, but the traditional impact we place on our joints during a “land workout” can be taxing. In water aerobics, the buoyancy of the water helps takes off some of the impact we tend to place on our body, due to our own water weight. In layman’s terms, our body’s is not subject to gravity in the water, therefore the impact our joints take on when, say, running in water, is not equal to the impact when running on land. This is particularly appealing to those with joint conditions such as arthritis or those currently undergoing physical rehabilitation.
- Alleviates pressure on the joints – Studies have shown water-based exercises such as water aerobics relieve pressure placed on joints from normal wear-and-tear and arthritis. In fact, hydrotherapy is shown to be the leading form of therapy for those suffering from joint problems.
- Relieves stress and decreases anxiety – Watching bodies of water in motion can be one of the most soothing activities one can take part in to help relieve stress, which is why vacations to beaches and island paradises are so popular getaways. But being in the water can be just as relaxing! A Polish study conducted in 2007 found that aquatic exercise significantly decreased anxiety and negative mood states in women.
- Burns calories – The combination of strength and cardio workouts mixed with water resistance in aquatic exercise ensures the body is getting a full workout. Depending on
cardioactivity, weight (including additional weights such as dumbbells and weight belts), water temperature, volume and buoyancy, the body can burn between 400 to 500 calories in an hour of exercise.
- Reduces blood pressure- Water resistance is not just a buoyancy feature to help work the muscles. In fact, the water pressure actually works with your blood as well and enables one’s blood flow to circulate more effectively throughout the body, effectively decreasing blood pressure and, in the long run, decreasing resting heart rate. This benefit means your heart is maintaining its productivity while putting less stress on your heart!
- Cooling exercise – As temperatures get warmer and the summer heat draws near, the desire to exercise in the burning sun may suddenly not seem so appealing, and so naturally dipping into any body of water becomes alluring. Water aerobics can satisfy that need to feel cool in warmer temperatures while still enabling an athlete to exercise. It’s cool, crisp and refreshing, especially knowing you aren’t struggling in the heat!
- Popular activity – Water aerobics is not limited to any age group or skill level. As a result, water aerobics is known to a be one of the most popular bonding activities for friends and family. The sport appeals to all ages – with younger generations naturally enjoying the fun to be had in swimming pools while still appealing to the older generations and their need to maintain a moderate level of physical fitness.
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I love water workouts! My mom used to be a water aerobics instructor, and I had so much fun going to her classes. I didn’t realize that working out in the water could increase flexibility. That’s pretty cool. I feel like it’s also a lot easier to exercise this way, because your body feels so much lighter in the water. Great post!
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