A decade or so ago water workouts were only common among older folks, especially because they were less demanding on the muscles and bones. But now, with findings emerging which suggest that the fat-burning and muscle-building impact is comparable to land-based exercise programmes, more people of all age groups are exploring a combination of land and water exercises, or switching altogether.
Stronger muscles and weight loss, according to Gisel Harrow, personal trainer and fitness instructor at Hard End Fitness Factory on Ardenne Road, are not the only benefits that will be reaped from this naturally therapeutic programme. Below she shares a number of different ways in which the body is altered with water workouts.
Builds cardiovascular stamina
Water workouts, like other aerobic exercises such as walking or running, improve heart and lung capacity, which in turn improves cardiovascular fitness. Swimming keeps your heart rate up, but it also takes stress off the rest of your body, which is a good balance.
It is low-impact
Water offers greater resistance to your movements since it is denser than air. In addition, there is the added benefit of buoyancy, which describes the experience of feeling less weighty while in water, which therefore reduces the possibility of pain associated with exercise as well as fatigue.
It improves flexibility
Aquatic exercises encourage a lot of stretching, and especially when combined with swimming, it stretches the whole body. When this happens, the muscles will strengthen and lengthen and create more flexible joints.
Helps to relieve stress
Water is naturally therapeutic — there is just a certain kind of peace that comes from being around or in calm waters. Researchers explain that with aquatic exercises the movement of the water against the body will not only massage the body, but increase relaxation, which will increase the release of feel-good hormones and calm both the body and mind.
Helps to burn body fat
Merely walking in water can burn even more calories than you would while brisk walking on land. This occurs because water offers a greater resistance than air and as such greater effort is required, which ultimately means that you will burn more calories.
Works out your entire body
Since water workouts are a type of resistance training, and most of the body is covered by the water during exercise, it contributes to the strengthening process of the muscles and joints throughout the body.
Rehabilitates healing muscles and joints
Exercising in water requires you to support only 50 per cent of your body weight, making the exercises easier to perform. This means that when you exercise, your body is supported and you work on regaining full body strength. In fact, there is also a massaging effect created when your muscles are surrounded by water. In addition, water pressure against your muscles aids your movements. The massages and support from the pressure of the water, in general, will ease stiff joints, relax sore muscles, reduce pain, and contribute to greater mobility and flexibility.
— PENDA HONEYGHAN