If you’re like most people, the most frequent time you see a pool is during the Summer Olympics. What you may not know, however, is that a pool is one of the best tools you can use to help get yourself into shape and improve your fitness.
Here are 5 reasons you should consider adding aquatic exercise to your routine.
Improve Your Fitness
Whether its swimming laps, taking an aqua aerobics class, or simply walking around in the pool, exercising in water helps to improve your overall cardiovascular fitness. Because water has a higher resistance than air, you burn more calories completing the same basic exercise movements in the water than you would on land. This translates to higher caloric burn without increasing the complexity of your exercise routine or adding weights. (Although, you can use weights, too!)
Two studies looking at the impact of aquatic exercise found that it was associated with being able to exercise longer without an increase in effort or pain, according to the CDC (1–3).
Save your Joints
Due to buoyancy, or the tendency for objects to float when placed in water, the weight your joints must support during aquatic exercise is lower than on land. If you have experience joint discomfort, aquatic exercise can be a gentler way to burn calories and maintain your range of motion without risking further damage to your joints.
Another benefit of buoyancy is that it makes it easier to begin a cardiovascular fitness routine! If you are introducing exercise back into your life or if you are overweight. The heavier we get, the harder it can be to begin exercising because of the increased load on our joints.
Aquatic fitness is an excellent way to start your exercise routine if you are overweight and have always dreaded starting your fitness journey because of your weight.
Aquatic exercise is inherently a fun, different activity that takes us outside of our everyday lives. On top of that, most aquatic exercise classes are social experiences that allow you to interact with others who are on the same fitness journey that you’re on. Researchers have found that people tend to enjoy aquatic exercises more than land-based exercises (4).
Also, other studies have shown that aquatic exercise can improve not only physical health but also the mental health of pregnant mothers if done during pregnancy (5). Another study even found that when children with developmental disabilities participate in aquatic exercise programs, parents noticed an improvement in the family dynamic (6).
Regulate Your Temperature Better
Exercising in the water is an excellent option if you find that you overheat when running, walking, or doing other land-based exercises. Water is a much better medium to absorb heat than air, especially in a pool where the water is continuously circulated. Water helps dissipate all the body heat that exercise produces from the body.
Sometimes we associate the pool with warm weather and only think of it during warm months, but if you live near a gym that has a pool…chances are that it is heated and warm!
Aquatic exercise is for more than just swimmers and Olympic athletes. The numerous benefits of working out in the water cannot be overstated, and they have largely been confirmed by scientific study. Whether you’re looking to begin your fitness journey, concerned about your joints, or simply looking to enjoy your working out more – try some aquatic exercise!
- Lotshaw AM, Thompson M, Sadowsky HS, Hart MK, Millard MW. Quality of life and physical performance in land- and water-based pulmonary rehabilitation. J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2007;27(4):247-251. doi:10.1097/01.HCR.0000281772.28394.30
- Cider Å, Sveälv BG, Täng MS, Schaufelberger M, Andersson B. Immersion in warm water induces improvement in cardiac function in patients with chronic heart failure. Eur J Heart Fail. 2006;8(3):308-313. doi:10.1016/j.ejheart.2005.08.001
- Health Benefits of Water-based Exercise | Healthy Swimming | Healthy Water | CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/health_benefits_water_exercise.html. Accessed January 20, 2020.
- Broman G, Quintana M, Engardt M, Gullstrand L, Jansson E, Kaijser L. Older women’s cardiovascular responses to deep-water running. J Aging Phys Act. 2006;14(1):29-40. doi:10.1123/japa.14.1.29
- Hartmann S, Bung P. Physical exercise during pregnancy – Physiological considerations and recommendations. J Perinat Med. 1999;27(3):204-215. doi:10.1515/JPM.1999.029
- Mactavish JB, Schleien SJ. Re-injecting spontaneity and balance in family life: Parents’ perspective on recreation in families that include children with developmental disability. J Intellect Disabil Res. 2004;48(2):123-141. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2788.2004.00502.x