Aquatic exercise offers numerous physical and mental benefits and it’s a smart choice for anyone wanting to be more active. Not only is it a safer alternative for senior citizens worried about breaking fragile bones, it also reduces the chance of injuries, especially if you’re out of shape or overweight. Because the water supports part of your weight, physical activity in a swimming pool is easier on your bones and joints. The water also provides resistance, which helps strengthen muscles and boost cardio workouts. There are numerous exercise choices based on which part of the body you’re targeting.
Get Your Heart Rate UP
Walking or jogging in water really gets your heart pumping. It also has a much lower impact on your hips, knees and ankles than doing it on land. Start walking forward in waist-high water, then increase your speed to make it more difficult. Chest-high water further increases resistance and intensifies your workout. Alternately, you can walk, then jog in place for 30 second intervals, up to five minutes at a time.
Bicycling is another cardio intense exercise. Loop a foam water noodle around the back of your body for support. Lean back and move your legs like you’re riding a bike for up to five minutes.
Tone Your Legs & Hips
Forward and side lunges work both your legs and hips. Stand up straight, then take a huge lunging step forward. Don’t let your knee go past your toes. Bring your leg back into a standing position, then repeat with the opposite leg. For side lunges, face the swimming pool wall and take a huge lunging step sideways. Return to standing, then repeat on the opposite side.
Jumping jacks is another leg/hip workout made more intense with the water’s resistance. You have to push through the water both on the way out and back in again. Plus, you must keep your balance to avoid tipping forward or backward. To increase the intensity, do as many jumping jacks as you can without ever touching the bottom of the pool.
Work Your Abs & Buttocks
Crunches are always great for getting rock hard abs. Put a pool noodle under your shoulders, then pull your abs in to perform a crunch. Aquatic crunches are more intense, because you work your abs laterally, while also stabilizing your body horizontally and vertically.
Perform double leg lifts by leaning back along the edge of the swimming pool, then lower your legs straight down. Next, raise legs as high as you can, while keeping them together and perfectly straight.
Tighten Flabby Arms
Styrofoam weights, arm paddles or webbed gloves increase resistance for arm exercises. Special pool weights are perfect for bicep curls, because the fins isolate the muscle. Keep your full range of motion beneath the water for optimal results. You can also use arm paddles or gloves for added resistance when performing arm raises. Simply hold your arms at your sides with your elbows bent to a 90-degree angle. Then, raise and lower your elbows toward, then away from the water’s surface.
Water exercises can increase your muscle strength, flexibility and endurance while reducing blood pressure, anxiety and stress. You also burn calories with low-impact movements that actually help alleviate joint pain and pressure. According to the CDC, hydrotherapy can help improve movement in arthritic joints without worsening symptoms. The American Physical Therapy Association also touts the benefits of aquatic exercise, especially for aging patients. Hydrotherapy can also be used as a therapeutic whole-body treatment, which is often part of a treatment program for various conditions like arthritis and muscle or ligament injuries.
Experts agree the benefits of aquatic exercise are plentiful. Aquatic exercises:
- Improve your health and well being
- Are easy and fun to do
- Make your heart healthier
- Burn calories while building strength and stamina
- Increase flexibility while alleviating joint pain
If your swimming pool has lost its sparkle, before you start your aquatic exercise regime, give Aqua Spas & Pools in Gig Harbor, Washington a call. The secret to a healthy pool environment is regularly scheduled care from our professional pool maintenance experts. Crystal clear, germ-free water is just one of the many benefits of professional cleaning.