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Coaching Corner: Cool Off and Burn Calories with Water Fitness

If you’re ready to break out of your indoor gym routine and enjoy some outdoor activities consider taking the plunge with Aquatic Exercise.

water-fitness

Of all the types of fitness programs available, water workouts likely offer the most options and accommodate the greatest number of participants.  Here are some of the many reasons:

  1. Water exercise provides all of the following components of fitness: cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength/endurance, core strength and flexibility.
  2. Injury rates are substantially lower than any other form of exercise; making it a good option for individuals suffering from back problems, arthritis or recovering from an injury, as well as elderly or pregnant participants.
  3. The buoyancy of water reduces a person’s “weight” meaning the stress on weight-bearing joints, bones and muscles is also reduced.
  4. Hydrostatic pressure in the pool allows you to work the body at a lower heart rate (which is great for cardiac patients) while providing results similar to land workouts.
  5. Water exercises can use more muscles at one time, which increases calorie burn and, in turn, helps reduce body fat.

Many individuals find that certain movements on land like running, kicking, dancing or even walking can be painful.  All of these activities can be performed in the water with little to no impact on the body.  Try putting on an aqua jogger belt and doing some deep water walking or running.  There are classes for aqua boxing and even aqua Zumba.

The natural resistance of water makes it a perfect environment for strength training workouts.  Simply cupping your hands and pushing/pulling water away from you (known as sculling) increases the resistance.  You can also add water gloves, hand paddles or aqua weights for a more intense workout. You can check out these H3 aquatic exercise routines to get started: Hydro Circuit, Deep Water Conditioning, Nautical Noodle and Aqua Resistance.

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One of the greatest benefits of water exercise is its effect on flexibility.  Because the effects of gravity are reduced in the water, it is possible to move your joints through a greater range of motion and improve overall flexibility.  Stretch based workouts, such as pool Yoga or Pilates, provide an additional element of relaxation.

Even though summer weather makes water workouts appealing, remember that many facilities have indoor pools; allowing you to keep your water fitness workouts a part of your year round program.  Check out options that may be available at your local YMCA, recreation center, a private club, community pool or even your local high school.  Check out a variety of classes and find one that you feel most comfortably matches your fitness level.

Look for classes that include a proper warm-up, cardiovascular and muscle conditioning segments, a cool-down and a full body stretch.  Be sure to check out the instructor’s qualifications.  They should be experienced and certified in Aquatic Exercise instruction.

The following chart gives you an idea of how many calories you can torch during a one hour water workout, depending on your weight:

Activity, Exercise or Sport (1 hour)

130 lb

155 lb

180 lb

205 lb

Swimming laps, freestyle, fast

590

704

817

931

Swimming laps, freestyle, slow

413

493

572

651

Swimming backstroke

413

493

572

651

Swimming breaststroke

590

704

817

931

Swimming butterfly

649

774

899

1024

Swimming leisurely, not laps

354

422

490

558

Swimming sidestroke

472

563

654

745

Swimming synchronized

472

563

654

745

Swimming, treading water, fast, vigorous

590

704

817

931

Swimming, treading water, moderate

236

281

327

372

Water aerobics, water calisthenics

236

281

327

372

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