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Taking a dip in a pool is not just for beating the heat. Swimming and water-based exercise has multiple health benefits that help make it the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States. If you’re not using the water as a workout arena, you’re missing out on a good way to get regular aerobic physical activity that works the entire body. Coming off an injury? Feeling the toll of your age? Just starting to exercise? Bored with your current fitness routine? It’s actually easier to exercise longer in water than on land, without increased effort or joint or muscle pain. Interested in learning more? Consider these five reasons to start now!
#1 Water-Based Exercise and Chronic Illness: If you suffer from arthritis, water-based exercise improves the use of affected joints without worsening the symptoms. In fact, people with rheumatoid arthritis respond better to hydrotherapy than with other activity. Water-based activities also improve the use of joints, and can help reduce pain from osteoarthritis. Swimming also can greatly improve cardiovascular health. According to the American Heart Association, 30 to 60 minutes of swimming four to six days a week can help people lose weight, and can reduce the risk of stoke, diabetes and heart disease.
#2 Water-Based Exercise and Mental Health: Mental health is positively affected by water-based exercise for all types of people. Pregnant woman benefit from improved moods. Parents of children with developmental disabilities found that swimming improved the family connection. And people with fibromyalgia experienced less anxiety and felt less depressed after exercise therapy in warm water.
#3 Water-Based Exercise and Older Adults: Aging adults can greatly benefit from water-based activities. Swimming and water aerobics provide a low-impact form of excise that improves quality of life by providing an active social experience, and decreases levels of physical disability. Post-menopausal women that participate in water-based exercise experience improved or maintained bone health.
#4 Water-Based Exercise and Muscle Strength: Water offers 12 times the resistance of air, which greatly improves muscle strength. Fitness tools for the pool, such as noodles, paddles, and kickboards add further resistance that increases the intensity of a water-based workout. Water-based exercise is particularly helpful for people who suffer from Runner’s Knee and other sports-related injuries. This low-impact exercise does not put additional stress upon knees, hips, or backs, unlike running, biking and other physical activities.
#5 Water-Based Exercise and Weight: Did you know you could burn between 500 to 700 calories per hour when you swim, depending on your weight and stroke style? Combined with a healthy diet, swimming is a great way to loose those extra pounds! Additionally, many physical activities can be a challenge for overweight individuals. The buoyancy of water relieves joint pain that is experienced with most land-based activities, and increases strength and mobility making it easier for overweight people to exercise.
Summertime is the perfect excuse to get in the water and splash around. Water-based exercise offers many physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages and abilities. Whether you are looking to start an exercise program or add variety to your current workout regimen, water-based exercise provides a challenging workout without the pain. And with the variety of water-based exercises available, like swimming laps, walking or running underwater, or water aerobics, it’s easy to find something you’ll enjoy. When in doubt, just keep swimming!
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