By Alison Kennedy, Wellness Director, Florida Presbyterian Homes
The month of August brings summer heat, but working out in the water can cool you off. Plus, pool exercise can be therapeutic as well.
Water exercise helps build cardio, strength and flexibility. It’s also a great exercise environment for aging joints. The pool is an inviting place to exercise both physically and socially.
What are some of the benefits of water exercise?
- It’s easy on the joints. There’s no gravity in water, so there’s no impact on the joints with exercise movements. This is especially beneficial to those who have arthritis.
- It builds muscle and strength. Water can provide much greater resistance than air based on the volume and the speed of movements within the water. This resistance helps to strengthen and tone muscles.
- It creates a social atmosphere. Aquafit and other group exercise classes provide a socialization benefit that can help motivate people to maintain an exercise program. Developing friendships, interacting within a group and having the ability to share common experiences helps to create a positive exercise environment.
- And…there’s hydrostatic pressure. The hydrostatic pressure created by water helps to decrease the tendency of blood pooling in the lower portions of the body, which helps reduce swelling and can also help steady unstable joints.
Overall, pools provide a “softer” environment for exercise. The water supports your body and falling isn’t a concern. No special equipment is needed, although you can use a variety of fitness or flotation devices if desired. Pool exercise allows for a wider range of motion, helps alleviate fatigue, and also helps relieve stress and tension.