By Rus Adams
Exercising in the water has wonderful health benefits. The properties of water create a unique fitness environment, which makes exercising in the pool a very different experience than exercising on land. The major differences of exercising in water come from resistance, buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure. These unique elements recruit and utilize muscles differently than terrestrial movement.
The resistance of the water comes from the density of the molecules or the “thickness” of the water. This translates into a wonderful exercise benefit because movement in the water is resisted 12 times more than it is on land. This is why movement speed in the water is reduced and can sometimes feel as if you are in slow motion. This resistance puts a greater burden on the muscle, which makes it ideal for muscular conditioning.
Buoyancy is the opposite of gravity; therefore it really defies how are bodies are accustomed to moving on land. Buoyancy provides a great assistance to movement. For example, buoyancy lifts the body; when you are submerged in water up to your waist you weigh about half of what you do on land. For people with joint problems and those who find the impact on land too difficult to exercise, buoyancy is extremely beneficial. It reduces stress on the lower body and provides greater ease of movement.
The hydrostatic pressure of water simply means that water pushes on anything that is submerged in it. This pressure provides added support and you will probably notice that your balance is better in the pool. This increase in pressure also aids in venous circulation and can contribute to the reduction in edema in the lower body. Be cautious in deeper water; the pressure on your lungs can make it more difficult to breathe. The ideal depth for shallow water classes is bust level.
Join us in the pool at The Ranch Fitness Center & Spa on Friday, May 19, at 10:30 a.m. for a special “Water Walking” class. This unique class is designed to promote overall health and wellness, with an emphasis on building a strong core, sound posture and good gait mechanics.