News from Hannibal Regional Hospital

With the arrival of summer, and the increased temperatures that go with it, taking your workout to the pool can be a welcome alternative to working out on land.  The workout can be just as intense, but without some of the side effects that land exercise leaves you with.  In addition, those that find it very difficult or even painful to exercise out of the water, can exercise in the water with much more ease.

Water is denser than air, which means it takes more energy to move through water than it does land.  Despite the added energy it demands, exercise doesn’t feel as intense as the same workout done on land.  Its cooling properties reduce the production of sweat, which for many is an indicator of how hard they are working.  And because of the pressure water places on your chest, the heart rate does not increase at the same rate as it does during land exercise.  Just because your heart isn’t beating as fast and sweat isn’t running down your face, does not mean you are getting any less of a workout.  Water exercise can get you in shape just as effectively as a land workout can.

One benefit from water exercise is the buoyancy that the water provides.  While in the water, the human body feels much lighter than it would feel on land.  This gives the muscles and joints much needed support, especially if, because of injury or disease process, they are not able to support much weight.  This allows a person to complete the exercises more easily than they normally would be able to do.  This is especially beneficial for those who are obese or those who suffer from arthritis.

Hydrostatic pressure is another benefit of water.  When people are almost completely submerged in water, their blood starts circulating much better throughout the body.  This normally reduces swelling in the legs and can help reduce any joint stress or pains.

Here are a few ideas for getting in shape while cooling off in the pool:
  • Water running/walking-this is an effective form of aerobic conditioning that builds lower body strength and power.
  • Pedaling while in deep water using a flotation belt or pool noodle.  This increases strength and endurance. You can boost the intensity of the workout by increasing the speed of movement.
  • Find an aqua fitness class, which is similar to a land aerobics class but adapted to water.  Studies have shown that regular aqua fitness workouts can decrease chronic low back pain, improve core strength, and increase stamina and power in the lower body.
Water exercise can benefit young and old alike, as well as people of different fitness levels.  Water can be effective as a cross-training medium to boost strength and endurance for runners or cyclists.  It is beneficial also to those not used to exercise as it can reduce the impact on joints, such as ankles, knees, and hips.

If you have any questions regarding joint or musculoskeletal pain, feel free to contact us at Hannibal Regional Hospital Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Bowling Green at 573-324-6079.
Posted in: Health Tips
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