If you want to improve your overall health, strap on your swimsuit, grab your goggles, don a swim cap and head to the pool. There are lots of fun and effective options for aquatic exercise routines. Aqua jogging, low-impact water aerobics, upper body strength routines -- can't you feel those muscles working? Now dive into that pool and break a sweat!
Why Choose Aquatic Exercise Routines?
Exercises that are done on land can strain the soft tissues and joints when they strike the ground, leading to injury. Aquatic exercise routines reduce this risk because body weight is reduced by up to 90 percent in the water, according to University of New Mexico exercise experts Len Kravitz, Ph.D and J.J. Mayo, Ph.D. Water also has a cushioning effect, an added benefit if you experience stress from weight-bearing exercises because of an orthopedic disorder or soft tissue injury.
Aquatic Exercises for Upper Body Strength
Many water exercises can strengthen the muscles in the shoulders, neck, chest and arms. In the pool, stand in water up to the neck, then lift your arms to chest level. Lower them and repeat to work the shoulders. You can also increase shoulder strength by holding the arms out to the sides at chest level, then bringing them in front of the chest, keeping the arms straight. Bicep curls can be done in the water to boost arm strength. Stand in neck-level water with your arms at your sides. With the palms facing forward, bend the elbows to bring your hands up to your chest. Rotate your palms so they face down, then push your arms back to the original position.
Water jogging, or aqua jogging, is a zero-impact cardiovascular cross-training exercise that works the whole body. Although the exercise is usually done in deep water with the aid of an aqua jogging belt, the exercise is also effective in shallow waters. Aqua jogging can easily be turned into an interval exercise by warming up at an easy pace for a seven minutes, then sprinting in the water for 30 seconds. Each sprint should be followed by an easy jog for two minutes, then another sprint for 60 seconds. Repeat this sequence, then cool down at an easy pace for five more minutes.
Shallow water aerobic exercise routines are low-impact and take place in water levels that enable standing. The workout may include aqua step, water jogging and a variety of moves that use water exercise equipment. Deep water aerobic exercise routines can be slow, medium or fat-paced. The feet cannot touch the bottom of the pool during these routines, and equipment like aqua jogger belts and water buoys are often used.
Poppy Carpenter graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to teaching journalism to junior high students, she also covers health and fitness for "PUSH Monthly" and Angie's List.