Hello! Are you ready to take the plunge and try something new to shake up your fitness routine? Ask yourself this, what about advantages of swimming? Swimming has so many health benefits it easily ranks toward the top of my list of exercises.
There are also many other exercises you can do in the water related to swimming. Any type of exercise or physical activity done in the water can be considered aquatics training which is a lot of fun.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be like Aqua Man to do aquatics training. The exercises I’m sharing today are fairly simple to do. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) did a very informative article on swim training you can see here.
One thing I like about water exercises is just about anyone can do them. Men, women, pregnant women, elderly, overweight, teenagers, or even people rehabbing from certain injuries can do them. Since the buoyancy of water reduces your weight by about 90%, this means there’s less impact to your joints, bones, and muscles.
This makes it easier for almost anyone to participate and it greatly reduces muscle soreness. Next I’d like to spell out some of the advantages of water activities.
1. Joints and Flexibility – Because buoyancy reduces your body weight like I mentioned above, people with joint problems are better able to perform exercises through a full range of motion. Many times they wouldn’t be able to do these same exercises on land. This is because gravity causes more impact and pain.
2. Cardiovascular – Water causes your blood vessels to dilate which helps increase circulation throughout your body. This also enables your heart and lungs to work more efficiently.
3. Strength – Water works good for a strength training workout because the water itself provides resistance instead of weights. It actually works very well to strengthen your joints and muscles.
4. Balance – Working out in water helps to improve your balance and coordination. This is because you have increased awareness with your nervous system being involved to help with balance.
5. Injury Rehab – Hydrostatic pressure from the water applied to your body helps reduce swelling. This in turn reduces pain and increases your range of motion with movements.
6. Flexibility – Since the effects of gravity are reduced, you have a better range of motion with your joints. This leads to improved flexibility.
7. Endorphins – Aquatic exercises help release endorphins in your brain. These are chemicals that can act as natural pain killers and help put you in a better mood to relieve stress.
8. Fun – Water exercises can be a lot of fun, especially if you do them with someone. Games such as water polo or pool volleyball can be a blast!
Next I’d like to share some exercises you can do in the water to reap the excellent benefits I explained above.
1. Swimming – If you’re in a pool you can swim a few laps. Or if you’re in a body of water like an ocean swim about 20 yards out and back in a few times. If you don’t know how to swim please don’t attempt this exercise! Wait until you’ve been properly trained or taught how to do it.
2. Walking – Walking in a pool or other source of water is great to build your lower body strength. In addition to walking forward, you can walk backwards or sideways to make it a little more challenging. It also helps improve your cardiovascular system.
3. Running – If you want to increase the intensity from walking, running can amplify the same benefits of walking. It’s best to do it like a slow jog so you won’t slip as easy. You can do forwards, backwards, or shuffle sideways as well.
4. Squats – Do squats the same way you do on land. Squat down to the height of a chair and then raise yourself back up again. This helps your glutes (buttocks), hamstrings, and calves.
5. Leg Swings – Raise one foot off the ground and move the same leg as far back as you can. Then bring your leg as far forward as you can using your hip as a hinge. Swing your leg backwards and forward 10-15 times. You can also swing your leg out to the side laterally and bring it back in.
Place your hands on your hips during these movements to help maintain your balance. This exercise helps strengthen your glutes, abductors, and adductors which are part of your groin.
6. Leg Kicks – Kick forward, backwards, and sideways like your doing karate kicks. These also help build up your lower body muscles.
7. Calf Raises – For this all you have to do is stand on your tip toes and hold that position for a couple seconds before lowering back down. You basically just stand and raise your heels off the ground while keeping your toes on the ground.
8. Bicycle – To do this you’ll need to be close to a wall in the pool. You place your arms and elbows outside the pool on the ledge. Then bring your lower body up and move your legs forward in a circular motion like pedaling a bike. This helps your lower body strength and cardio at the same time.
9. Arm Swings – Take your arm and move it backwards as far as you can. Then bring it forward as far as you can. Continue doing this back and forth 10-15 times. You can also move your arm sideways away from your body and then bring it back toward your body. This helps improve your shoulder strength.
10. Arm Circles – Hold your arms out to the side and move them in a circular motion forward and then backwards. This also builds up your shoulder muscles.
11. Dog Paddle – Dog paddle a lap or two around a pool or about 20 yards out and back if you’re in a body of water somewhere. To do this, you move both hands and arms forward in a circular motion at the same time to keep your body afloat. This is great for your forearms and shoulders.
12. Tread Water – Move both arms in a crossing motion in front of you with one arm above the other. Alternate placing each arm above the other while doing it. It’s similar to the same motion a baseball umpire makes when signaling a runner safe. Do this for a minute or more. It will help your chest and shoulder strength improve.
Summary – Now that summer time is approaching, swimming and aquatics training can be a great alternative to traditional exercises. You can add them to your fitness regimen to break up the monotony and have fun cooling off in the sun.
Considering all the combined benefits you get from water activities, I highly recommend doing them if you get a chance. If you have any experiences involving water exercises you’ve done that are fun and you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments.
Or if you have any general comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you. Thanks for your time and stay cool this summer!