Utilizing The Pool For More Than Swimming
By Wes Boven, MAC Personal Trainer, B.S. Central Michigan University, Health Fitness in Preventative and Rehabilitative Programs
Swimming laps is great. In fact it is one of the most beneficial forms of cardiovascular exercise. However, if you are only utilizing the pool to swim – you’re missing out. The aquatic environment provides numerous benefits that exercising on land cannot offer. Here are a few examples:
. The benefit of hydrostatic pressure. The pressure you felt as a kid diving as deep as you could; that’s hydrostatic pressure. Although it hurts when it makes your ears pop, it supports your joints, increases your cardiovascular efficiency, and reduces your risk of injury.
. The benefit of buoyancy. If taught correctly you can utilize the property of buoyancy to assist movements, resist movements, or stabilize movements. Buoyancy also creates a low impact environment greatly reducing the strain common with exercises performed on land.
. The benefit of resistance. The water’s resistance against your movements results in a higher workout intensity compared to the same movements performed on land. This resistance also provides resistance in all directions simultaneously; allowing you to perform numerous strengthening exercises in a much shorter duration.
Here are a few exercises to try next time you’re in the pool:
1. Running/shuffling – 3 laps each
2. Squat (until the water is at your shoulders) and shadow box – 3 sets of 1:00 minute
3. Jumping (split-squat and jumping jacks) – 3 sets of 10 reps each
4. Chest fly/reverse fly (as fast as you can) – 3 sets of 15 reps
It is also important to note, just as you do when swimming, allow your heart rate to return to normal before exiting the water. Due to the increase in cardiovascular efficiency your heart rate is actually 10-15 beats per minute lower when you are submerged in the water as compared to standing on land. So just remember to allow your body to go through a cool-down period to avoid any risk of injury upon exiting the water. In summary, if you are feeling the need to shake-up your workout routine, give the pool a try and save the swimming for the fish.
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