Think back over your time working out in the gym. You’ve probably hit all the major areas offered – the cardio deck, the weight room, the functional training area, and the Group Fitness studios. Is there one area that you haven’t dipped your toes in yet?
Most gym-goers drift to our major training areas on land. But did you know that water workouts are a hidden gem of the fitness world? Many people don’t know how important and beneficial working out in the water can be for the entire body, so we’re sharing 5 reasons to take your workouts to the water.
- Water naturally provides resistance
You might think that since you can float in water that working out in the water is easier, but the water provides a natural resistance as you have to push water out of the way to complete any sort of movement. Because the resistance (water) surrounds your entire body, any movement done in the water will require more work and energy to complete the motion. Because you’re working harder and expending more energy in the water by working against it, you can burn more calories when compared to land-based exercises.
- Water takes pressure off of the joints
While the water is the greatest natural resistance, it is also helpful for those concerned about weightbearing exercises. The buoyancy of water removes the weightbearing effect which minimizes impact on your joints and helps prevent potential injuries. Think of the action of a jump, for example – on land, gravity pulls you down quick during the down phase of the jump and can create force on impact in your ankles, knees, and more. Doing this same move in the water still gives you the explosive power motion on the upward phase of the jump as you push off of the bottom of the pool, but the return to the bottom is much gentler as the water gently brings you back down.
- Water workouts = “full-body workouts”
Think back to the first reason we listed on why you should take your workouts to the water – the water provides resistance naturally, and since your entire body is submerged in the water, no muscle group gets left out of the fun. Your entire body is being conditioned when in water by having multiple joints and muscle groups work together to finish a movement. Swimming free-style is a prime example of a “full-body workout” by utilizing multiple muscle groups when performing each stroke.
- Water workouts can help reduce high blood pressure
If you’re concerned about blood pressure, consider moving your workouts to the water. In general, exercise has been shown to help lower blood pressure. Recent studies have shown that water aerobics has the same effect, and one study showed a decrease of 4 mmHg for systolic blood pressure and a decrease of 3.3 for diastolic blood pressure (Igarashi, 2015). Being in warm water can help to relax blood vessels, which is instrumental in lowering your blood pressure and maintaining good health.
- Water is great for all ages (with supervision), all fitness levels, and all goals
Because of its versatility, the water is an ideal tool for nearly everyone wanting to be healthier. With proper supervision and preparation like swim lessons, children can enjoy physical activity while having fun at the same time, and you can join in on the fun with them for more family time. For more experienced swimmers looking to hone their water skills, many of our locations offer Masters Swim with planned workouts to improve your stroke and time in the water. We also offer a vast array of water aerobics classes, ranging from cardio to strength-focused, so whether you have arthritis and need a low impact workout or you’re a star swimmer needing high energy exercise, water aerobics can accomplish both. Prefer one-on-one training? Many of our Personal Trainers have training so they can adapt exercises to the water for you. There is no limit to how the water can work for YOU!
We’re huge fans of the water here at American Family Fitness, but we understand that the water isn’t for everyone. Be sure to consult with your physician before beginning a new fitness regime to ensure your health and safety.
Igarashi Y, Nogami Y. The effect of regular aquatic exercise on blood pressure: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2018 Jan;25(2):190-199. doi: 10.1177/2047487317731164. Epub 2017 Sep 15. PMID: 28914562.