Healthy Lifestyle

Add Water to Your Workout

Exercise alternative

We can all agree that regular exercise and physical activity are important for both staying fit and losing weight. Research has shown that regular exercise is one of the best ways to maintain your weight loss long term. 

But if you are like many of my patients who suffer from joint problems or pain, that’s not always easy to do. That’s why working out in the water is a great option. 

Benefits of water

Swimming or doing water aerobics are terrific ways to strengthen muscles and boost cardio intensity to your workout. The water provides resistance while also supporting some of your weight, making exercise easier on your joints and reducing injury. 

Water exercise can burn calories quickly and make you stronger. Water's continuous resistance forces you to engage more muscle fibers through a larger range of motion.

"Simply treading water vigorously can burn up to 11 calories a minute. That’s the same as a six-mile-per-hour run. Depending on your intensity, jogging in the water can burn as many as 17 calories per minute, more than you will burn jogging on land." 

Dr. Katrena Lacey
Methodist Physicians Clinic

Water workout tips

If you plan to workout in the water, be sure to:

  • Stay in water that is no deeper than waist-high. Staying in shallower water will ensure your feet maintain good contact with the pool floor while your leg muscles support some of your weight. 
  • Wear water shoes and webbed gloves. Water shoes will improve traction while the neoprene gloves add resistance and intensity to your arm movements.
  • Use handrails for extra support. Handrails on the side of the pool can help you keep your balance in the water. Also, get assistance if needed as you get in and out of the water, particularly if you have any difficulties with your mobility, as the area can be very slippery.
  • Drink lots of water. It’s important to stay hydrated both during and after your workout. You can get dehydrated in the pool as easily as you can on land.

As with any exercise program, you’ll want to consult with your physician before beginning any water exercise routine. There are physical therapists that can give guidance on aquatic physical therapy for patients with certain medical conditions. If interested, they would need a prescription from their physician. This can be a great way to start water exercise because it can teach you safe exercises to do on your own. 

Perhaps just as important as burning calories, working out in the pool will help boost your confidence as you start back into an exercise routine. It helps build your balance, agility and endurance, which is the first step in helping you get along swimmingly once again. 

About the Author

Dr. Katrena Lacey is a physician specializing in internal medicine and pediatrics. Her mission is to help people live happy and healthy lives.

Dr. Lacey sees patients of all ages at Methodist Physicians Clinic in Gretna.

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