A lot of people choose not to exercise because they’re afraid of injury. It’s true that there’s potential for joint and bone damage when you undertake exercises like running, kickboxing, and other high-impact workouts. But you can get healthy without risk as long as your exericices are… aquatic! That’s what Susan Foster, who founded New Attitude Exercise, has to say in this video. For over a decade she’s been teaching people to get great workouts that are low-risk and low-impact by doing them in the water.
Benefits of the life aquatic
We’ve already talked about how water exercises are low-impact. That’s because your body weight is supported by the water, so you’re not hurting yourself in any way. Swimming increases your flexibility and enables great cardio without adverse effects to joints, bones, or muscles. This is great exericise for people of any age, but can be especially beneficial as people begin to age and are at higher risk for injury.
What do I need to get started?
Foster begins by discussing the equipment you’ll need for low-impact water exercices. Believe it or not, you want to start with shoes! Though most people are barefoot when they swim, if you’re considering doing exercises in the pool, you’ll need water shoes that will give you traction on the bottom and enable you to move easily and safely. You can purchase them at local sports shops or online; make sure that they’re slightly (but not too!) tight, so they’ll stay on.
If you’re going to do a workout in deeper water, you’ll want to add an adult flotation belt so that you’re safe working out at all levels. For a lower-body workout you’ll want a paddle board (most pools already have one you can use), and for an upper-body workout you’ll want some water bells.
How the workout works
There’s a progression of classes in water workouts just as there is in any exercise routine or non-aquatic workout. You’ll start out with water-walking (the water provides both support and resistance!), and you’ll discover that there are verious walking workouts with various levels of difficulty.
Then you’ll go deeper (literally!) into chest-deep water that will work the obliques and abdominal muscles. Deeper water will enable still more intense crunches and abdominal work, as well as thigh and buttocks workouts. Finally, you’ll end every workout with flexibility exericises and stretching so that your muscles can recover from your workout.
A bonus is that all of this will help loosen your muscles once you’re out of the water and keep them from tightening up again, so the benefits will long outlive the workout itself.
So the first thing that you want to do before you undertake any worout routine or exercise program is to visit your doctor. Describe what it is that you want to do and ask them if you’re strong enough for it, and if this is a routine that hthey’d recommend for you. Once you’ve begun working out, pay attention to your body. If you develop sudden intense pain anywhere, stop immediately and have it checked out with your doctor.