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Pool Workouts - Gentle on Joints, High on Calorie Burn

Updated on May 21, 2015

Benefits of Exercising

Exercise boosts our metabolic rate and helps us lose weight, manage stress, strengthen our immune system and reduce the risk of certain diseases. While there are several forms of exercise, these can be broadly clubbed into two categorizes: aerobics and anaerobic exercises. Aerobic exercise is a low-intensity activity that helps to increase the heartbeat rate and manage weight and stay healthy. For this reason, aerobic exercise is also known as cardio exercise, as it results in pumping of oxygenated blood by the heart to the working muscles, according to MedicineNet.com.

Aerobics is An Essential Component of Any Exercise Program

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines prepared by the US Department of Health and Human Services, you can gain most of the health benefits of regular physical activity by exercising at moderate intensity for at least two hours and thirty minutes, or 150 minutes, per week. Both aerobic (adding endurance by improving lung and heart function) and muscle-strengthening exercises are beneficial.

You can gain benefits by exercising for as little as ten minutes at a time. Examples of aerobic activity include walking, running, cycling, swimming and dancing. Muscle-strengthening exercises involve the use of free weights or the weight of one’s body in order to work the muscles and improve strength.

Benefits of Aerobics

I Can’t Swim. What Are My Options?

Swimming is an excellent cardiovascular workout; you are moving many parts of your body at once, and building lung capacity and heart health at the same time. The various styles of swimming each have their own benefits; freestyle is the most popular, as it is the one which you learn first. The backstroke may feel easy, as you are floating on your back and don’t need to keep resurfacing for breath every few seconds. However, the backstroke works not just your arms and legs, but also your entire core, as those are the muscles keeping you afloat and helping you to propel forward.

If you don’t swim, don’t despair. There are a variety of water-based workouts available at various gyms and health clubs, including water aerobics and water Zumba. Many of these classes have a mix of cardiovascular and strength-training routines; you get a full-body conditioning workout to maximize endurance and strength.

Why Water-Based Exercises?

Exercises done in a pool (or any body of water) can be more beneficial for the joints than exercise on land, especially as water cushions the joints, making it a low-impact exercise. According to the American Council on Exercise, when your body is immersed in the pool up to your waist, the water is bearing 50% of your weight. Water’s density means that it provides more resistance than air; you can exercise at a higher intensity but without hurting your joints. Lastly, water’s buoyancy allows you to move more easily, with less stress being put on your muscles and joints. Exercising in a pool helps you gain flexibility and balance.

So Do I Just Switch Over to Water-Based Exercises?

It is always a good idea to mix up your exercise routines. Any exercise routine that is done over an extended period, without increasing either the aerobic intensity or the weights used or the number of reps performed, can lead to a plateau in terms of improving fitness or meeting other fitness goals. The body needs to be continually challenged, especially if you want to lose weight or improve your muscles.

If you are looking to lose weight, the goal should be as follows: restrict caloric intake and gradually increase the time or intensity of aerobic physical activity per week, till you are at a point where the physical activity is effective in achieving a healthy body weight. Thus, the conclusion is that there is no one best exercise. Rather, it is more beneficial to mix around one’s workout routines so as to keep the body challenged and prevent the mind from getting bored.

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