Getting More Out of a Water Workout

Submitted by SharpHealth Team on Thursday 7th October 2010
In this article
  • Why work out in the water?
  • The one catch.
  • Guidelines for water workouts.

Water workouts or aquatic exercises include any type of fitness activity that uses water as its medium. Although traditionally only water-sport athletes worked out in the water, in recent years the popularity of water-based exercise has exploded.

Today, athletes from all sports backgrounds and abilities are using water training to supplement their land-based work or are relying on water training as their sole means of exercise. Want to learn how water workouts can make your pump-time more interesting? Check out our SharpHealth scoop:

Why Work Out in the Water?

First off, aquatic exercises have all-around benefits. Water workouts can enhance your cardiovascular fitness and — when combined with a toning and strengthening segment — can also improve your muscular endurance and overall strength.

Second, water workouts are superior to land-based pumping in the following areas:

  • Joints. Water provides both buoyancy and support for your body. When exercising in the water at waist level, you need to support only 50 percent of your body weight. The jarring and pounding of body joints, bones and muscles that can occur with other land exercises is greatly reduced.
  • Range. Water workouts can improve your flexibility — again, without causing immense pressure on your joints. Why? Because there is less pressure on joints in the water, your joints can more easily be moved through a wider range of motions.
  • Results. Water provides more resistance because it’s more dense than air. This increased resistance promotes better muscular endurance and tone. In other words, you will see quicker results when exercising in the water, compared with the same exercise routine on land.


Are There Disadvantages to Water Workouts?

The biggest problem with water workouts is that they require access to a pool. Many larger apartment complexes have them; if yours doesn’t, check out high schools, rec centers, the local YMCA or the fitness centers in your area. You’ll probably have to pay for a membership or a per-use fee, but the upside is that these facilities are also likely to have water exercise classes to get you started.

Guidelines for Your Water Workouts

More good news: aquatic exercise is no different than exercise performed on land. In fact, you can replicate many of the same exercises you would do in the gym. Of course, just as with land-based workouts, you’ll need to take a few precautions to ensure that your aquatic workout is a safe one. Consider these tips before diving in:


  • Get an "OK." As with any workout program, it’s a good idea to get an OK from your doctor before you get started. A physical examination is usually all you will need.
  • Get a spotter. Never swim or exercise in the water alone. Even the most experienced swimmer can encounter an in-water emergency that requires assistance.
  • Get some gear. Using water-workout gear (such as floatation devices) can help you focus your workouts on specific muscle groups and maximize on the time you spend in the pool.
  • Get some protection. Of course, if you are performing your water workout in an outdoor pool, be sure to apply a water-resistant sunscreen to avoid burning.
This article last updated on Thursday 7th October 2010
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