Summer is here! The weather is warm. The sun is shining. And you are ready for some time at the pool. Lounging around a pool with an umbrella drink in your hand can certainly be very relaxing. But a pool has so much more to offer than just rest and relaxation. It can be a great place to do an exercise program, too.
What’s the big deal about working out in the water? First of all, the water helps to minimize the effects of gravity and weight. As you get older and your joints get sorer, you’ll really appreciate a lighter load on your back, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. The water also minimizes the risks of falling or losing your balance, which is especially important if you are a little unsteady on your feet because of a recent surgery or injury.
One of the best things about exercising in the pool is that any movements are slightly resisted by the water. That minimal resistance provides an easy, gradual way to build strength. But overall, most people like exercising in the pool because it’s fun.
What types of exercise can you do in a pool? Of course, the most obvious is to swim. Swimming laps is a very effective form of aerobic exercise and it also has a meditative quality. But swimming is not the only way to get your heart rate up. Many people participate in water aerobic classes at local gyms or at hotel resorts. Even walking or jogging in the shallow end is a great way to experience the benefits of exercising in the water.
You can also build core strength and improve balance by doing specific things, such as standing on one leg, doing leg squats or performing lunges. You can get even more out of your workout by using hand paddles or “water dumbbells.” If you need help exploring ways to work out in the pool, talk to a personal trainer or physical therapist.
In the summer, pools are the most logical place to start your water exercise program. But now many fitness gyms or clubs have heated pools, some physical therapy offices have pools, and some communities have warm water therapy pools so you really could be able to keep it up through the year. The only people who should avoid using the pool are those with open wounds or other skin issues and those who can’t swim.
Don’t be concerned about how you look in a bathing suit--just dive in and enjoy a workout in the pool. Afterwards, you can go back to your lounge chair, deeply satisfied with the gift you have just giving your body.
Published On: May 24, 2013