No sweat, exercise in the pool
Thursday, July 15, 2021
A refreshing dip in the pool can do more than cool you off. There are benefits to swimming that will make you want to find a way to jump in a pool year-round.
According to Swimming.org, exercising in water makes your body work harder and uses all the muscles in your body. Thirty minutes in a pool is worth 45 minutes of the same activity on land because of the water’s resistance. That same 30 minutes of a leisurely swim can burn more than 200 calories, double the number of calories for the same time spent walking.
There are benefits to exercising in a pool, even if you're not a swimmer. Try water walking; working against the water's resistance is good for your muscles and helps keep you flexible. Aquatic exercise classes can be in the deep end of a pool with flotation devices or the shallow end of a pool. Try a class with a trainer who leads a group through a set of exercises with special water weights or pool noodles.
Consider lap swimming if you're generally healthy and your doctor says it's OK. But start slowly. For example, swim for five or 10 minutes, a few times per week. Gradually increase the amount of time each week and note how many laps you can do within that time.
Water supports up to 90% of the body’s weight, which makes a pool a joint-friendly spot to exercise. Heated pools, typically 82 to 88 degrees, can help soothe joint and muscle pain while your body reaps the benefits of exercise.
“When you exercise in water, it can ease joint stiffness, decrease pain and swelling, and improve your range of motion,” said Shehla Atiq, M.D., fellowship-trained rheumatologist, Genesis Rheumatology Care Center. “It may be more comfortable to move in water when you’re in pain.”
If sweating is your reason for inactivity, throw water on that excuse. You won’t feel sweaty in a pool, no matter how hard you work out, because the water constantly cools you down. Go ahead, get your feet wet.