Water Aerobics for the Morbidly Obese

You can work out in water even if you can't swim.
i Photodisc/Valueline/Getty Images

If your doctor tells you that you are morbidly obese, it means you weigh at least twice the ideal weight for your stature and age. Diet and exercise can reduce your weight. Water aerobics is a good exercise option because it’s easy on the body and provides both aerobics and resistance exercise.

No-Impact Exercise

Water aerobics does not stress the joints or the spine, categorizing it as no-impact. The buoyancy of deep water exercise allows you to move much easier because you weigh 90 percent more on land than you do in the water, according to Len Kravitz, Ph.D., and J.J. Mayo, Ph.D., authors of “The Physiological Effects of Aquatic Exercise.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that water aerobics allow you to exercise longer with less pain. It also helps maintain bone health if you have osteoporosis.

Resistance Exercise

You engage in resistance exercise when you work out in water. Kravitz and Mayo explain that water is 800 percent more dense than air and applies pressure on all parts of the body when you are submerged in water up to your neck. The pressure applies resistance to your movements, strengthening the bones and muscles. The water pressure allows your heart to pump slower than it would if you were working out on land, without diminishing the effectiveness of the aerobic and resistance exercise. Therefore, water aerobics provides double benefits for you, especially if you have other health problems such as diabetes, joint deterioration or heart disease.

Weight Loss

Kravitz and Mayo report that water aerobics in both shallow and deep water will help you lose weight. Water aerobics burns calories at a high rate compared to many other exercise options. For example, a person who weighs 240 pounds and performs water aerobics for an hour will burn approximately 600 calories, according to the MayoClinic.com. For the best weight loss success, exercise for at least 30 minutes three or more times weekly.

Other Benefits

If you have pain as a result of your weight, water aerobics may provide relief. A 2010 study published in the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” found that obese patients exercising in water lost weight, experienced less pain, improved muscle strength and endurance, developed greater flexibility and balance, and expressed better quality of life. A Spanish study reported that water aerobics patients with fibromyaligia had less pain and depression and improved physically and mentally. Your cholesterol and triglycerides will also improve, according to a 2007 study published in the “American Heart Journal.”

the nest