Read these 12 Water Exercise Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Exercise tips and hundreds of other topics.
Are you a fan of swimming? If so, you're about to become an even bigger one.
Studies have shown that Swimming is 4x more effective than running in regards to burning calories (based upon individuals who had just begun doing exercise, as well as individuals who were accustomed to different types of exercise). The water acts as a resistance, so your whole body has to push and pull to get you through the water. If your goal is to burn lots of calories during a workout, swimming for a half-hour is a great way to do it, and will exercise the entirety of your body.
Swimming is a great way to enhance your cardiorespiratory endurance, a.k.a. your type1 muscle fibers' ability to sustain muscular contractions (your Type 1 muscle fibers are for endurance, Type 2A are for strength, Type 2B are for Explosive Exercise). It is also incredible for strengthening the muscles in your back. This is due to the fact that the muscles in your back are the one that do all of the 'pulling' motions for your body. Therefore as you swim and you are pulling your arms past you through the water, your back muscles (especially your Lats, Upper/Middle/Lower Trapezius, Erector Spinae group, Rhomboids, Teres Major/Minor) are the ones working and getting stronger as you do it.
The general population in America has rounded or 'forward' shoulders and an incredible lack of back strength. Swimming is a natural way to strengthen the muscles of the back to help the shoulders be pulled back to a closer Anatomical Neutral Posture. For those of you that feel some back pain during the day, it is probably due to bad posture because of weak back muscles. Start swimming and in a matter of weeks the pain will more than likely get better.
Water aerobic exercises and swimming allow people with joint problems and other medical conditions to get a good workout without pain and jarring. People with arthritis should do water exercises in a warm pool, while those with multiple sclerosis need cool water.
Try running in the deep end of a pool, wearing a flotation belt, for a more intense water exercise workout. Use your ordinary upright running style. Deep water running is good for rehab and for athletic training, as you can work hard with no impact. This is different, and more vigorous, than water aerobics exercises, which are generally done in the shallow end.
If you are swimming and have become somewhat bored with just swimming laps, try switching things up. Perform whichever stroke you like and only use your upper or lower body. For example, begin by warming up with 2 regular laps. Then just use your legs one lap, then just your upper body for another lap, and back to 2 laps with your whole body. This will put more pressure upon your legs and arms, making you work your cardiorespiratory system more and stress your muscles differently as well. As you get better, you can perform more laps with just your arms or legs.
Before you try ankle weights in the water, re-watch murder mystery movies where the victim gets tossed overboard with ankles weighted down. Use only paddles, plastic bells, or other devices made specifically for water exercise workouts by reputable companies. People have drowned using things like weighted belts and ankle weights during water exercises in the pool.
Swimmers should stretch the back of their shoulders, but not the front. They need some muscle resistance for leverage during water aerobic exercises, and stretching the front of the shoulders (anterior deltoids) can loosen them up too much. Some competitive swimmers have injured themselves by this inappropriate stretching.
Are you the weakest link when it comes to exercise? Don't give in to the Fear Factor! Swimming is the weak link for many triathletes. That's all the more reason to practice swimming and water aerobic exercises. If the race is in open water--lake or ocean--don't do all your water exercise training in a pool. If you're not confident in open water, swim where it's shallow or have a friend come along with a boat or board.
Think you're like the Marines, fit and powerful by land, sea, or air? If you're primarily a swimmer and want to add running or triathlon, work into it slowly while still doing your water aerobic exercises. Your legs may not be as strong as your cardiovascular system although water exercise does work the leg muscles.