If you are looking for a good fitness solution, water exercising is certainly one. Water workouts give you a natural resistance. This makes your muscles do more work, unlike the normal workouts that are done on dry land when you need to figh gravity. Another reason is that your heart rate is lower whenever you do aerobic activities in the pool than if you are on land but you still get the same cardiovascular benefits. Water exercises are also softer on your joints as water helps you support your body weight while exercising.
The New Face of Water Workouts
There used to be a time when there were a specific set of people who did water exercises: lap swimmers with powerful strokes and strong pace, and older folks, usually women who did aqua classes known for the scratchy music used and retro bathing caps.
These days, there has been a change in water workouts. It doesn’t take much endurance, like lap swimming. Of course, it might still be perfect for athletes and elderlies alike. However, water workouts are good for those who have not really done much physical activity, those who regularly walk or run, people who go to the gym (or even those who hate going there), the overweight folks and many others.
There are several workout equipment and accessories used which include water shoes used for pool walking, webbed gloves and water weights which add some resistance to arm resistance, buoyancy vests and belts for deep-water running as well as a pool-based kind of tai chi known as ai chi.
Water walking is a type of water workout that is of low-impact but is easy and effective in a pool. It can be a very good aerobic workout and offers more air resistance which helps in building and strengthening your muscles as you walk.
Below are some items that you might need in order to do this water exercise:
- Water Shoes: These are used to protect your feet and provide more grip while walking. You can find some popular models here.
- Flotation Belts: If you need stability, then this is your best bet because you get to stay afloat. This piece is usually for deep-water walking where your feet do not make contact with the ground.
- Webbed Gloves: Are for more resistance to your arm movements.
- Stand in water at waist-deep level making sure your abdominal muscles are firm. Let your tailbone point downwards, buttocks should be tucked such that your spine is braced; shoulders back and lift your chest in a neutral position. This offers more resistance and makes it more strenuous.
- Just as you walk on land, walk with your heel down first then follow up with the ball of your foot. Make sure you don’t tiptoe and let your back be kept straight with your stomach muscles taut.
- Now, you walk forward by 8 steps, and then take 4 steps back. This is to tone the various muscle groups.
- Push your arms relatively forward and back at both sides while you walk. Make your hands turn each time you walk so that your palms press against the water.
- Use both arms in opposition to your legs. This means when you step forward with your left leg, bring your right arm forward and then vice versa.
Variations on Water Walking
- If you lift your knees higher, the intensity of the exercise increases.
- You can walk forward and backward with long steps, short steps, step kicks or average steps.
- You can move in the pattern of a square or circle. Make sure you go in both directions so as the demands of your body are balanced.
- If you decide to increase the intensity of the workout, then try to take very large, controlled steps or bound by you pushing off with the back of your foot so as to bounce up off the floor of the pool between each stride. Make sure to use the right equipment and that your water shoes are slip resistant.
Other tips for Water Walking
- Just like any other aerobic exercise, begin with a mild warm-up and finish the exercise with a cool-down. It is easy to stretch after being warmed up in water.
- Make sure you take plenty fluids. If not, you could easily get dehydrated despite being surrounded by so much water.
- Remember to wear sunscreen if you are exercising outside.
Other Water Workouts
This is also known as aqua jogging and it provides a very high-intensity cardio aspect of running without you feeling the impact of striking a hard surface. The water must be below your neckline and you can include paddles to engage your arms, triceps, and biceps.
All you do is run through the water as you do on land with your back straight, arms bent at the elbow and hands balled into fists while pumping them through the water. Try to run as hard as possible.
In this workout, you float in the water with your back perpendicular to the pool’s side. From your knees up, put your legs on the deck of the pool while the rest of your body lays flat in the water. Then use your abdominal muscles to pull the upper part of your body out of the water as far as possible. Then go on to lower your body back into the water with your muscles.
Leg and Core Toners
Stand with your back against the edge of the pool with your arms extended backward while you hold onto the edge on each side. Pull your legs up towards the surface and keep them together until they are extended straight out in your front.
Next, you move your legs outwards to form a V-shape and then back together. Keep them together, and then return to the starting position. Make sure you control your movements by engaging your gluts and abs to complete every motion made. Continue pulling them up, down, in and out.
Water workouts are very good because the resistance it produces which in turn helps build and strengthen muscles. Whichever exercise you do, ensure to make use of the necessary equipment to keep you safe and healthy.