Above Video: Part of a new series on the Fitmotivation YouTube channel - Benefits of Aquatic Fitness
Bowflex Home Gyms, treadmills, elliptical machines, Ab Rockers, Thighmasters, stability balls, resistance bands, dumbbells and more. The human quest to get in shape, be healthy and lose weight is a costly endeavor. Every year, millions of dollars are spent on fitness equipment.
In my opinion, the most underrated and affordable piece of fitness equipment is WATER. When you exercise in water you are moving against a constant resistance. Once submerged in water, all of your movements are resisted by the water’s viscosity or thickness. Honey is more viscous than water. Imagine how much resistance you would encounter trying to move in honey. Water is more viscous than air, which is why you encounter more resistance to movement in the pool than you would in a fitness studio.
Why do we do spinning in the water? Because pedaling against the water’s resistance is harder. Why do we do kickboxing in the water? Because punching and kicking in the water’s viscosity provides a better workout. Why do we run in the water? Because running against a resistance is more demanding.
The water is in essence a piece of fitness equipment. You just have to get in and start moving. Moving your arms and legs against the water’s resistance provides toning benefits – but it also provides great cardio-respiratory benefits. Here’s how. Sweep your arms front to back on land – and they move through air. Sweep your arms front to back in the pool and they move through the water’s resistance. That added resistance creates more demand from the heart to pump oxygenated blood to those big working muscles.
And best of all, you don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits. It doesn’t matter if you were athletic in your past. I have taught aquatic fitness classes for 15 years and I have seen many older adults and deconditioned individuals discover the joy of exercise in the pool. They always start out shy, keeping to them selves and barely moving in the water. Within a few weeks they start to own the water around them, gaining confidence and getting more forceful in their movements. They also start to interact with others in the class, discussing the moves being instructed and whether or not they got their heart rates up.
Within a few months they show up with their first pair of webbed gloves, anxious to make the workout more challenging. A couple months later they show up with their own flotation belt – because the club’s belts simply will not do anymore. They are now full-fledged water warriors, discovering and embracing their inner athlete in the pool.
This is what I love about exercising in water. It is the Great Equalizer. Everyone gets a chance to be an athlete. Everyone gets an equal shot at getting in shape and living a healthier life.
Please forward this to someone you know who could use a boost of encouragement and a gentle nudge towards the water.