Tagged with: disability exercise fitness health Physical Activity
Swimming is one of the most popular and effective ways of burning off excess fat (and, incidentally, fat has a way of floating on water, which at least partly explains that popularity). It is especially enjoyable in the summer, when you can cool off from the intense heat even as you get into shape.
More recently, a fad called water aerobics — which many also call waterobics, aqua aerobics or “AquaFit” — is also catching on. It is great not only as a form of weight control, but also to help rehabilitate muscles that may be suffering from injury. Here are some of the ways in which it might help you.
Benefits of water aerobics
Among the many ways in which the body can benefit from water aerobics, some are:
- Reduced risk of injury — Water, as we all know, provides support against the pull of gravity. As a result, there is considerably less risk of injury to the muscles than there would be if you were working out on solid ground.
- Reduced stress on the joints — In the water, the lessening of gravity also lessens the amount of stress that the joints have to endure. You can thus move them around much more freely and gain flexibility. This particular advantage makes water aerobics especially attractive for the elderly, whose joints may be weakening. Pregnant women and those who are suffering from diseases such as arthritis may also find water aerobics beneficial.
- Increased resistance — The very characteristic of water that reduces the pull of gravity — its high density as compared to air — also increases the amount of resistance that the muscles encounter as they move through it. This means that twice as many calories can be burned in water as on land. For this reason, athletes who have been injured often find that it can be a valuable aid to rehabilitation, as do many orthopedic patients.
- Better calorie burning — Not only is the number of calories burned greater, but the level of HDL (“good cholesterol”) is also increased, as is the blood circulation.
- A more steady body temperature — In the water, the body temperature does not fluctuate as much during exercise as it does out of the water, so that you can exercise more vigorously without being in danger of overheating.
- Even somebody who is not a strong swimmer can participate in this activity. The great majority of water aerobics routines are performed in the shallow end of the pool.
Especially for seniors
As mentioned above, water aerobics can be an ideal activity for helping the elderly stay in shape, for many of the reasons stated — less risk of injury from a fall, the number of calories burned, the cooling effect of water, and so on. As people get older, their bodies become more prone to muscular and skeletal injuries, which hamper their ability to perform many of the movements that are required by many exercises. This, in turn, results in their muscles and the rest of their bodies growing more and more out of shape. And the process goes on and on in a vicious cycle. Water aerobics can be a pleasant way out of this cycle — its low-impact nature makes it easy to fulfill every bodily function that ensures physical fitness.
“Exercising in groups can be both a great motivator and a great source of fun” says Bob Quigly. It can provide people with an opportunity to socialize with one another.
Why aquatic exercises are for pregnant women
During pregnancy, the developing fetus adds a great deal of weight to the mother’s body. Therefore she, too, can derive benefits from the buoyancy and reduced strain of the water. The need to remain in shape is also increased because healthy women can give birth more easily.
Some water aerobics exercises
The typical water aerobics session lasts from 45 minutes to an hour and is done to the accompaniment of lively music. An instructor stands at the head of the pool and demonstrates various movements involving the arms, legs and core of the body for the class to follow. First comes a warm up session in which the muscles are stretched and the heart rate is brought up to speed. This is followed by a succession of rapid, vigorous movements that resemble running and jogging, and finally by a cool down that involves stretching and relaxing to bring the heart rate back down again. Sometimes weights may be used to provide added resistance.
Exercising in the water is one of the best ways to alleviate muscular injury as well as get into shape.