With the sun shining to its best, it is hard to survive in the gym for 30 or more minutes working out. The best alternative to exercise in these hot days is in the water. Water exercises are very effective, fun and produce great results. Moreover, water will not let you affect with the outside temperature. There are many benefits of working out in the water. Hydrotherapy or Aquatic therapy also has some great therapeutic benefits for orthopedic and neurological conditions. Here, I want to discuss a few important workout exercises that you can do in the pool or water.
It is important that water is at least your waist deep. So exercising in a community pool is the best idea. I like to perform water aerobics in the pool where water is 5 or 6 feet deep. These exercises not only help with just regular work out but also a good weight loss technique. In the water, as long as you are moving, you are either strengthening, balancing or working to lose fatty tissue. So, don’t worry about the technicalities of the following exercises, and enjoy the water.
The other important thing I want to mention is that even though there are many benefits to water exercise, it is not for everybody. People with breathing difficulties or respiratory illness are not candidates for water exercises as they have an exacerbation of symptoms with an increase in humidity. I discussed specific contraindication of hydrotherapy here.
Walking in the water :
Just walking in the water back and forth action as cardio exercises. You don’t have to know how to swim and you don’t need to swim for this exercise. One can use protective floating gears if you are afraid of water.
You will feel some resistance while walking and that is good as it works as strengthening exercise.
If you are already a pro swimmer, you can walk with bringing each knee to the chest. This is a harder version of a walk and works on strength as well as balance.
Freestyle swimming is one of the best aerobic exercises. It works on the full body and has minimum side effects. Since a person does not feel body weight in the water, swimming is a good alternative for people with weight bearing issues, joint pain, etc. You can choose any style of swimming and you are going to get benefits out of it.
Water Exercise: Standing with Support and moving legs :
So, this is a specific exercise to improve strength and balance. You want to stand with supported standing.
In this exercise, you are standing on one side (for example on the right side) with support. You can move the unsupported side leg (left leg in this example) and bring it away from the body. This is as if you are kicking the leg out.
Water Exercise: Standing without the support and moving legs :
This is the same exercise as mentioned above but here you are standing with no support. So you are maintaining your balance and also work on strengthening.
Water Exercise: Working on core muscles :
There are several ways you can work on core muscles while in water. Swimming freestyle as well as walking while bringing knee to the chest are exercises that are going to work on core muscles.
Other ways to work on core muscles are:
Performing abdominal crunches with feet supported:
Here you are lying on the water flat on your back. Feet supported to the side wall and gently perform crunches. This is a difficult exercise to perform as it requires tremendous balance and swimming capacity. So if you are just a beginner in the water, don’t worry about this exercise initially.
Side plank in the water:
This exercise works on oblique muscles (side of waist). You are standing with one side supported to the wall. Gently bring the upper leg (unsupported leg) the opposite shoulder. A small range of the movement is fine as you don’t want to hit your knee to the wall.
You can perform the same exercise to the opposite side.
Water Exercise: Working on arms:
Above exercises are going to work on arms. You can add some weight to work on arms along with legs in exercise 3 and 4. You can also choose to stand still in the water and just perform elbow curls or shoulder movement with or without the weight in the water.
The only thing I will ask to be careful about is not overdoing it. As when you are working out in the water, you are not going to feel much pain or weight so people have a tendency to overdo it. After the actual work out, Delayed muscle soreness is going to be strong and people feel “pain” from the DOMS for a few days. So just be careful about the repetition and the time you exercise in the water. Decide the time and repetitions prior to the session and stick to it for the first week or two. Once you get the hang of it, you can slowly increase the repetition as well as the time of the session.