As my friends and I lament the weird little aches and pains that seem to multiply each year, I always laugh and say, “We weren’t meant to live this long!” In biblical times, 35 years old was ancient. Now, we’re entering a whole new realm at mid-life.
We all know that if we are to enjoy our adult years to the fullest, we must try our best to stay fit. Sometimes that process proves to be painful. Due to injuries, lack of consistency, or personal conformation, we often get waylaid before we can reap the benefits of an exercise program.
In order to beat this problem, more and more Americans have taken up some form of water exercise. In fact, more than 10 million Americans currently participate in water exercise of some sort. The movements provide 12 times more resistance than traditional land-based fitness programs with a lot less stress on the joints.
Water workouts are a wonderful way to maintain cardio vascular levels without the overheating that is common to other types of exercise. The gentle resistance of the water helps to stretch and tone your body without all the pounding that more ballistic exercise involves.
You can burn calories more efficiently during aquatic exercise: In a 30 minute period, land walking burns 135 calories, deep water walking burns 264 calories. Jogging on land burns 240 calories. Deep water jogging burns 340.
Here are some tips to get you started on a water exercise plan:
If you are new to water exercise, take it easy at the start. Try walking in the shallow end of the pool. That will be sufficient to start. As you improve, move to thigh-deep, then chest-deep water, increasing your speed as you do so.
While you move in the pool, use the water as resistance. Land in a heel-ball-to sequence and keep your body upright. Use your arms in a pumping motion, as if you were walking hard.
As you improve, walk or jog in the water for 20 to 40 minutes each session. If you get bored with walking, you can join a group that offers more technical movements. Or, try water walking, using a belt that helps hold you in an upright walking stance in the water. There are water classes that incorporate tai chi, dance, Pilates, or yoga.
Drink plenty of water while exercising in the water. Even though you’re in the water, you still need to stay hydrated.
Try to work out in a pool temperature between 82 and 85 degrees. Anything more and you’ll risk overheating. Anything less and you might have problems due to cold muscles.
For the best results, work up to water that is waist to chest level.
If a regular pool exercise program isn’t in the cards for you because of your schedule, try slowly peppering your workout with pool exercise sessions when possible. You’ll tone your muscles, increase stamina, and find yourself refreshed and energized afterward.