If weight loss and a buff body are on your list of fitness goals, water walking exercises are an effective way to get there. Although swimming is also a good exercise, you don't even have to get your hair wet to get a good total-body workout in the water. Access to an indoor and outdoor pool means you can work toward that sexy, slim bod no matter what the forecast.
Benefits of Water Walking
Depending upon your weight, you can burn between 400 and 600 calories per hour with water-based aerobic exercise. Performing water walking exercises three to seven hours per week can help you lose approximately 1/2 to 1 pound per week if you continue to eat about the same amount. In addition to getting rid of the extra jiggle and having a stronger heart, the natural resistance of exercising in the water will challenge your muscles and help tone them for a leaner, firmer bod. If you have joint issues or excess weight that makes it challenging to walk, jog or ride your bike, the buoyancy of the water will take stress off your joints so you can workout without pain.
Proper Water Walking Technique
Some people are inclined to walk on their toes whenever they're in the water. Who knows why this is -- fear of getting their hair wet, a desire to avoid getting water in their eyes? Whatever the reason, it's better and safer to walk with your full foot, just as you would when walking on the ground. Swing your arms back and forth similar to the way you would when walking briskly outside or around the track. Avoid the tendency to lean into the water; instead, maintain a straight back and draw your ab muscles in to keep yourself upright.
Water Walking Variations
Let your muscles warm up by starting off with a five- to 10-minute warm-up of walking on normal ground or walking through shallow water. Transition to walking through water that's up to your hips or waist to engage your lower-body muscles further. Alternate walking in waist-deep water with walking in water that's chest high to get the upper-body muscles more involved. Mix it up a bit by incorporating some water jogging, sideways walking and backward walking into your routine. Be sure to cool down in the same way you warmed up to allow your breathing and heart rate to return to normal.
As long as you're in the water, you can capitalize on the muscle-building benefits of the water's resistance to do some toning exercises. Perform leg lifts to tone your thighs. Hold onto the edge of pool, and make big kicks in the water to lift your tush. Stand in shoulder-deep water and do arm raises to engage the muscles of your upper body. No matter how young or fit you are, be sure to get the OK from your doctor before you start your new water walking exercise program.
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.