We all generally know the joys of owning your own swimming pool but there are other health advantages that provide benefit as well. Whether you are an athlete who pulled a muscle, a senior needing improved cardio health after a heart attack or recovering from surgery, water is a great healer. Water is very helpful in accelerating the healing process and reducing risks of additional injury.
For starters, doing exercise in the water is just more fun in general. There are sports clinics and some community settings that offer recovery classes but for the most part, you can do this at home with a little initial coaching from your doctor or Physical Therapist.
Water exercise is so effective is that it provides both support for some of your weight and resistance at the same time. But supporting some of your weight, there is less concern about falls, balance and general movement. If needed, you can use water weights to give you additional stability, but this is not necessary if you feel secure. There are also aqua belts you can wear if necessary. On the other hand, the resistance you feel as you move through the water strengthens and tones muscle and bones.
Professionals recommend that you wear water shoes when you enter the pool to exercise and unless you are swimming laps, do not go in further than waist deep. The exercises generally vary between balance and stability and secondly, strength and endurance training.
Some great water exercises include:
Aqua Jogging – Jog from one end of the pool to the other. Remember again you are only in the water waste deep. If you can’t jog, you can Aqua Walk raising your knee to surface level of the water with each step.
Jumping Jacks – Jumping Jacks, or a modified version thereof provides great assistance to your lower body. You may want/need to hold on to the edge of the pool at first, but they are good ways to build strength and improved cardio output.
Kicking – Hold on the edge of the pool or one of those pool noodles and stretch as far as you can, and then just kick, not with your feet, but from the sockets of your hips.
Water Squats – Squats get you to bend at the knee and squat down so that your chin is almost touching the water. Movements simulating cross country skiing or long stretch strides are also good.
For upper body, you need to purchase a set of water dumbbells … basically floating foam that looks dumbells. They are very lightweight but when they meet the resistance of the water, it is amazing. You can also do this using just an ordinary noodle, but it is less effective.
Overall, water is a very effective tool for healing many ailments, and is also good for reconditioning after a sports injury or senior moment.
While we often forget, it’s important to remember that you do need to drink a lot of water during and after your exercise as well. Dehydration, even when you are in water is a concern.
Not only is your pool a fun place to hang out, it’s also functional for better health.