If you’re looking to switch up your fitness routine, interested in becoming more active but don’t know where to start, or need an exercise plan that is easy on your joints, it might be time to consider hitting the water.
“When you’re in a pool, you can jog and do all kinds of things that mimic the exercises you would do on the fitness floor with equipment, while getting the same benefits,” notes Karen Sims, an athletic trainer at the TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion.
How Effective is Water for Working Out?
Water is a great thing to introduce into your workout to keep it fresh and challenging, while still allowing you to go at your own pace. “Water is the best place to combine cardio and strengthening,” Karen says. “The faster you go through the water, the more resistance you experience — allowing for a total body workout.”
The pool is also a great place to work on balance and core strength, due to the water pressure pushing against you, forcing you to hold your core tight. “It’s a safe place to work on balance, and it’s still challenging,” Karen says.
Not at Your Peak Fitness Level? No Problem
If you carry extra weight or have a chronic condition that causes joint pain or discomfort, the buoyancy allowed by water means gravity won’t have the same effect on your joints. By being in water, you won’t experience the joint pain that is associated with weight room exercises or using cardio equipment.
“Where someone might be able to get a 15 minute workout on traditional fitness equipment, they can spend an hour in the pool getting a cardiovascular workout,” Karen says.
Where Do I Start?
If you want to try a water workout but aren’t sure where to start, check with your local gym or fitness club to see if they have fitness classes in their pools. If joint pain or muscle spasticity is a concern, review local clubs and see if they offer warm water pools, which will allow for a more soothing experience.
Regardless of your fitness level, the water gives you an opportunity to get your heart rate up for the daily recommendation of 30 minutes.