Water workouts are the answer to beating the summer heat, adding low-impact variety to your workouts, and pumping up your summer fun!
Water workouts are gentler — not easier
You may think water fitness is an “easy” workout reserved for the elderly and those with physical limitations. But the fact is, water workouts have joined the ranks of gentler exercises that are appealing to aging baby boomers in growing numbers. According to the American Council on Exercise, today, more than 10 million people are participating in aquatic exercise. I’m one year off from being a baby boomer (born in 1965), and most of my friends are baby boomers — and yes, we love the water workouts!
The physical properties of water are so different from the gravity experienced during land-based training, so water feels easy — but it’s not. You’re less weight-bearing in water, which reduces the chances of injury. For instance, when you run in waist-deep water, it supports half your weight, which lessens the impact of the exercise on your body. But it’s still great exercise and gets your heart rate up. And as with all forms of exercise, you get out of it what you put into it.
There are other benefits to low-impact water workouts, too. They can:
- Improve your posture, balance and flexibility
- Increase your strength and muscle tone since water provides natural resistance during your workout
- Reduce your risk of overheating during exercise
- Lessen pain and increase your range of motion
Add some equipment
Whether you sign up for a class at a health club or a public pool, or create your own program in your backyard pool, there are lots of toys you can use to make your workouts more fun and effective. If you are exercising in the shallow water, I suggest water shoes to protect your feet and improve your stability. Depending on your workout, you also can include:
- Resistance tubing (Yes, this works well on land or in water.)
- “Noodles” (long, thin styrofoam tubes that keep you afloat)
- Medicine balls (Yes, they float and are a great way to add resistance. Use them with a partner for even more fun.)
Pay attention to your exertion level, and drink plenty of water. Just because you are in water, doesn’t mean you can’t get dehydrated. Check my recent post about how much water you need during exercise. You may not feel the sweat, but your body is losing fluid.
Don’t forget to warm up and cool down for each workout, which is easy to forget in a pool. Lastly, wear sunscreen — and have a blast.
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