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Exercising in Water

The Pool is an Underutilizied Piece of Workout Equipment
  -- By Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer

Have you ever considered including water fitness into your exercise routine? This can be a great way to increase strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health. Plus, during the months of summer heat, what is a better way to keep cool?

Water has great properties; one of the best for working out is its resistance power. You can work opposing muscles at the same time. For example, if you are doing curls underwater, pulling up will work the biceps, while pushing down will build up the triceps.

Another great feature about water is its buoyancy, which is simply the tendency or capacity to remain afloat in a liquid. It reduces your weight, therefore putting significantly less stress on your joints, bones and muscles. Compared to other exercises such as running, there is no impact on any of your joints. It is estimated that body weight is compounded up to five times during the heel strike when running or jogging. This is avoided in water. Water fitness requires use of your core as well, that is, utilizing your back, abdominals and obliques. This muscle group is often ignored during other exercises.

There are many ways to get fit and stay cool in the water. Most obviously, perhaps, would be to swim laps or tread water. But you can also jog in the water. Additionally, there is a variety of products available that can increase the resistance in your workout, including buoyancy belts and dumbbells, gloves and noodles. You can actually lift weights underwater.

While exercising in water is totally different from exercise on land, your approach to water exercise should be the same. Continue to warm up and stretch before you start the workout. Maintain the same amount of repetitions you would for exercises out of the water. Also, continue to mix up the exercises you do. Your body needs a variety of exercises, regardless if it’s on land or in water.

Another bonus to water exercise is its usefulness during special circumstances. Ask any professional athlete and they will tell you water exercise is essential when dealing with an injury. It allows you to continue exercising without putting any stress on your injury, thanks to its buoyancy discussed earlier. Also, because your body is supported by water your heart rate is slightly lower, meaning aquatic therapy is relatively safe for obese individuals, pregnant ladies and those suffering from hypertension and heart disease.

Exercising in the water is easy, but for obvious safety reasons it should never be done alone. It’s easy to find someone to exercise with though. Look into classes at your local health club. If none are available or fit your tastes, just grab a buddy and find a pool. When summer ends, you don’t have to stop including water fitness as part of your workout routine. Find an indoor pool and keep going. Have fun enjoying the benefits of a refreshing workout.