Exercise is vital to good health but often one of the most difficult elements to consistently include in our daily regimen. Let’s face it – exercise is hard work. We must push our bodies outside of our comfort zone just to maintain, but throw in the added pressure of trying to lose weight or recover from an injury or illness and then it is even more of a challenge.
One way to alleviate some of the pressure of exercise it to just add water. Jumping into a cool, refreshing pool of water renders us virtually weightless, yet water actually provides 12 times more resistance than air, and water based exercise burns about 30% more calories than the equivalent exercise on land.
The main goal of water based exercising is to improve cardiovascular fitness, but some other benefits include improving balance, flexibility and strength. Plus, because it is so much easier on your joints, most people may be able to do some exercises in water that they couldn’t do on land.
Water workouts burn tons of calories, in fact, vigorously treading water can zap 11 calories per minute. Water’s continuous resistance forces us to engage more muscle fibers through a larger range of motion thus making muscles expend extra effort translating into more toning and calorie burning in less time.
Water workouts are an ideal way to get low impact exercise with fitness results. Muscles are given a workout from every angle resulting in greater definition and all around strength. Working out in water is soothing and relaxing, and because the movements are naturally slower it helps us to slow down.
Some water workouts to check out:
Aqua Aerobics is a good all-around cardiovascular and muscle toning workout using floats as props.
Aqua Jogging begins by running starting in shallow water and ending up in water that reaches your neck. This is much easier on your joints such as hips and knees and is great for regaining strength after an injury or for back problems.
Aqua Yoga is a series of yoga poses performed in waist-deep water that are gentle and low-impact. Aqua yoga is good for pregnant women and for people with arthritis.
Poolates focuses on strengthening core postural muscles with a series of exercises base on small movements that work deep muscles along the abdomen and spine. Poolates is good for improving posture and core strength and is good for people with back problems.
Aqua Combat is a series of underwater karate and kickboxing moves such as strikes, kicks and punches. It is good for building stabiliser muscles which strengthen the back, improve balance and help flatten the stomach.
Watsu combines the benefits of shiatsu massage with the relaxing effects of weightlessness in water. Watsu is good for stress and related problems, such as disrupted sleep patterns and low immunity.
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