TAKE A BREAK FROM GRAVITY- EXERCISE IN WATER THIS SUMMER
Our lifestyle editor, Cindy Bottomley, looks at water exercise and the power of working out in H²O this summer. Does it really work or is it all fun in the sun?
With warmer weather coming our way, don’t by-pass water aerobics as part of your exercise regime. It isn’t all splash and giggles in the sun, although there certainly is a place for sunshine, splashing and giggling.
I know that this type of exercise can be done indoors in a heated pool all year round, but there are definitely some added benefits when it comes to being outdoors with the sun warming your body and working out at the same time. It does keep you cool but don’t be fooled, you still work up a sweat.
There are a number of reasons and benefits to including water aerobics or a workout in the pool into your routine and the good thing is that it is for all ages and varying fitness levels.
Water has great resistance, so just walking in water can burn more calories than walking on land. It also can be social if you join a class. Alternatively, you could do it on your own or with a friend.
Some people find it easier to workout in water as they feel weightless which helps them achieve moves with a larger range of motion. And don’t think you won’t be stiff. Some water moves can be challenging, so don’t neglect warming up and cooling down stretches before and afterwards.”
Water exercise is low impact, so these types of water exercises are perfect if you haven’t exercised before or for a while, are recovering from an operation, are pregnant, or are a senior. It gets you moving, increasing blood flow and oxygen to the muscles without the jarring impact of conventional exercises. (Obviously, you should clear this with your medical practitioner first.) It can boost your confidence as no one can see you working out in the water. Plus, if you do lose your balance the water supports you.
This type of exercise is perfect to help keep you exercising consistently, especially if the weather is very warm and you are struggling to keep up a routine in the heat. Consistency is key with most things to see results, especially exercise.
Include keeping up healthy eating which helps support your body in exercise to get you to your goal quicker.
If you are thinking that this type of exercise is too passive and possibly boring, you may need to consider that this is a really great add on for everything you are doing on land, like weightlifting, treadmill running and leaping up and down doing jump squats etc.
It might be time to give your body a break from gravity. You get to try out some crazy moves you wouldn’t even consider on land. Have some fun with it. As for being boring, it doesn’t have to be. Use weights in the water and build up the intensity as you become stronger.
Swimming laps improves your cardio vascular and respiratory system. Make the laps more interesting by varying them. For example, do 10 laps of freestyle, then 5 laps of freestyle legs only, then 5 laps of freestyle arms only and work through the different strokes.
There are also commando style water exercises like wide legged water treading in the deep end. Increase the difficulty by bringing your upper body higher out of the water and lowering it back down a few times whilst you are treading water. Keep it controlled. Trust me, it’s challenging and there are many more of these types of moves to keep you getting stronger, fitter and challenged.
Let’s get to the one major disadvantage of exercising in a pool. The chemicals used to keep the pool sparkly and clean can sometimes be harsh on your skin and eyes. If you are allergic to any of these chemicals, then shop around and see if there are any classes held in a salt water pool. But whether chemicals or salt are used, I strongly recommend rinsing off, including your hair, after each session.
With Summer round the corner, include this type of exercise in your weekly routine. It has so many benefits apart from just being exercise.
It gets you outdoors which is especially important as so many of us have been housed up indoors for too long.
So, put on your ‘cozzie’, grab a towel and get out there. There is no pressure to look or be perfect in fact, just the opposite. If you are in a class and you feel a bit shy, then wear some baggies and a tee-shirt over your costume. And if you are with a friend at home, you can wear whatever you like!!
Have some fun and if the hard work comes with some splash and giggles then all the better.