Water Exercises

image_pdfimage_print

climbing wallForget the gym, you have all the equipment you need in your backyard

It can be difficult to maintain your exercise routine in the hot summer months. Well sweat about it no more. Exercising in your own pool is a fun, beneficial way to keep in shape.

Water exercise is good for the whole family- even those with injuries, arthritis, or chronic back or joint pain.

“As physiotherapists, we use hydrotherapy to aid the rehabilitation process following injury or surgery,” says Teira Jansen, senior physiotherapist and clinic manager of Aushealth Physiotherapy. “Hydrotherapy is essentially water based therapy. We run our classes in a specialized pool that is heated to 32 degrees Celsius [about 90 degrees Fahrenheit], creating a warm and comfortable environment.”

So, we now know that pool exercise is especially helpful to those with physical limitations or injuries. Water exercises are not only great for a limited group of people…they can be beneficial for the whole family!

Water Exercise Vs. the Gym

Some of the major benefits of water exercise include: increased strength, flexibility and stability, and cardiovascular conditioning. You may think, “I can achieve all those things at the gym,”. While that may be true, the benefits of water exercise may outweigh the benefits of going to the gym.

“The water removes a lot of the effects of gravity, making it easier to perform exercises without loading the joints as much as you would on land, especially the hips and knees,” says Teira. “Water can be used as resistance for strengthening exercises and flexibility, especially with the addition of pool buoys, noodles, etc.”

Heading to the pool in the hot summer months is a great idea, especially when your other alternative is heading to a hot, sweaty gym. Water exercise is cooling and burns more calories with less risk of injury. The constant water resistance while doing water exercises can help tone every part of your body.

Not a fan of cold water? Not a problem. Heated pools definitely have their benefits as well.

“The water temperature helps to warm the muscles and joints, making movement easier, and the warmth also has an analgesic effect,” says Teira.

Want to Reduce Stress?

Exercising in a pool has been shown to lower stress levels. It has been proven the feel of water on your body and the sound it makes has a soothing effect on your mind, reducing the impact of life’s stressors.

We already know water exercise is beneficial for those with injuries, but it is helpful for those with injuries in more ways than you may think.

“I find it helps people realize that they can do things that they thought they would never be able to do again- it’s a great stepping stone to recovery,” she says. “Quite often the first part of the recovery is when you feel you can’t do anything. The water based environment means people can do things that they can’t do on land and it helps them see that recovery is possible.”

Time with friends can be a great stress reliever. There is something special about being able to exercise with your friends and get caught up on life at the same time. Most pool exercises keep your head and shoulders above water, giving you the opportunity to chat away.

Intimidated by the gym? Getting in your daily dose of exercise in your own backyard can reduce the fears and intimidation you may have about exercising at your public gym with others. This way you can enjoy the privacy of your own home; and you will be left with no excuses for not going to the gym!

Types of Water Exercises

You have the choice of taking it slow or really getting your pulse racing, depending on the type of water exercise you choose to do. Whatever your intention, there is a type of water exercise for you. Some types include: aqua aerobics, gentle stretching, lifting exercises, water boxing, water dancing, swimming laps, jogging or walking in the water,squats, dance movements, and stretches.

Some water exercises work well with the use of flotation devices or flippers; visit your local pool store for a huge range of products.

Try These:

Kicking: Use a kickboard or the side of the pool and try some high-intensity kicking in 30 second intervals to really get your heart pumping.

Jogging or Walking: Walk or jog your way around the edges of your pool to improve overall body tone and cardiovascular health. If you feel up for it, put your favorite songs on and really get into the mood.

Stretches and Lifts: Hold on to the edge of the pool, making sure everything below your shoulders is still submerged. Slowly lift and lower each of your legs for a great toning exercise. In order to burn extra calories, perform these leg lifts while treading water.