Are you looking to improve your cardiovascular health? Do you crave exercise even though you have sore joints? Are you recovering from an injury?
Aqua fit, or exercise practiced in water, offers the following nine buoyant benefits. So do like Michael Phelps and take the plunge into this form of low impact, aquatic fitness…
Did you know that submerged in water up to the waist, the body is rid of 50-percent of it’s weight? If that blows you away, then try submerging yourself to your neck—now you’re only carrying 10-percent of your total body weight. The buoyancy, or anti-gravity effect of water, will let you float through exercises that would otherwise stress your joints at full capacity, outside of the water. This means if you suffer from joint pain or a chronic joint condition, like arthritis or scoliosis, aqua fit will provide a safe and gentle environment for exercise.
In fact, the Arthritis Foundation claims that stretching and strengthening with aquatic exercise relieves joint and muscle pain. (Here are some more Low Impact Joint-Friendly Forms of Exercise).
Extends Exercise Endurance
The fact that aquatic exercise is low impact totally takes exercise to a new level—timewise, and thus, strengthens the heart. For instance, most of us can perform aqua aerobics in a cool swimming pool for a lot longer than we can perform aerobic exercise on land, thanks to less stress, or impact, on muscles and joints, which leads to greater overall endurance and cardiovascular health. (Learn more with this article on the Incredible Health Benefits of Swimming).
Luckily, doing physical fitness in the confines of a cool pool lets you try out more than a sassy new swimsuit. Because water disperses heat more efficiently than air—you won’t overheat as quickly as you would on land. That means you’ll say temperately comfortable and cool much longer than you would in a regular aerobics studio so you can strut your exercise moves for longer as well.
Safe for Exercising When Injured
The buoyancy of water provides quite a bit of give and take when it comes to injuries. Even with an existing injury, you can benefit from the warmth, decreased impact, and reduced resistance environment of a therapeutic pool that prevent you to make sudden, jerking movements that might stress and existing injury further.
Enjoy Enhanced Flexibility
Sports therapists point to the pool as the means for improving flexibility. According to research from the University of South Carolina, aqua exercise employs a wider range of motion due to the fact that water is much denser than air. In essence, each stroke, movement, and kick is met with resistance, which increases muscle and ligament flexibility—from head to toe.
Strengthens Immune Health
A study from the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology at the University of Colorado, links low impact, aerobic exercise, like aqua fit, to increased longevity in adults. The study monitored the effects of aerobic exercise on 68 healthy men between the ages of 22 to 35 and 50 to 76-years.
Findings showed that participants who exercised 2 ½-hours each week or more reduced their overall risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease, and strengthened overall immune and heart health.
Improves Mood and Positivity
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put forth a convincing link between water-based exercise and mental health. Research showed that aqua fit and swimming were equally impactful on the moods of men and women—for lowering stress and depression in fibromyalgia sufferers. Water-based exercise is likened to yoga, which triggers a similar release of endorphins (natural “feel good” hormones).
Aquatic exercise might be the secret to a long and healthy life, according to a co-study between the University of South Carolina and Dallas-based Cooper Clinic. After monitoring 40,000 adults who ran, walked, swam, and had sedentary lifestyles over a 30 year period, findings showed that the swimmers had the best life expectancy, and lowered their rate of death by 50-percent compared to the other groups.
Ideal Beginner Exercise
If you’re just starting to workout, the water can provide a bevy of benefits according to a study from the Texas A&M Research Laboratory. Firstly, aqua fit classes give you a chance to socialize and workout in a fun environment with a little added privacy. For instance, exercising under water provides an alternative to jumping around a packed aerobics studio in full, spandex-clad view—especially if you’re trying to shed some weight.