Water exercise is often brushed off by fitness buffs as exercise for older individuals, for those with injuries, overweight individuals, women who are pregnant, or individuals who do not want to be as challenged as land-based workouts may be. While water exercise is great for all of these populations, it’s essential for many of us as well.
Now when I discuss water exercise, I’m not addressing swimming, but rather shallow or deep water aerobics, aqua strength work, or even deep water running/jogging.
Being in the water has tons of benefits for the above listed demographics but is also a great cross-training tool for all of us who workout and a way to work hard while also letting our joints take a break. When in the water we are bearing 50% or less of our weight! The general rule is:
Immersed to your waist – bearing 50% of BW
Immersed to your chest – 25-35% of BW
Immersed to your neck – 10% of BW
In shallow water, you can still do plyometric work and increase heart rate (think squat jumps, lateral jumps) while taking less of a hit to the joints because you are only feeling the impact of 50% or less of your weight. With deep water exercise and running, you can work your core when in correct postural alignment, but also get your heart rate up and rest after an injury or when increasing your volume of running on land to AVOID overuse injuries!
More benefits of cross-training in the water include:
- reduced resting and exercise heart rates
- reduction in hydrostatic weight with reduced stress to the joints
- decompression of the spine
- reduced swelling in the extremities
- many physiological benefits for pre and post-natal participants
- increase in muscular effort, contraction, and RPE due to moving in a viscous environment
- facilitation of recovery from exercise performed on land
** Stay posted this week for a deep water running workout to try out as well as a shallow water plyometric workout**