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Water based exercise

There are lots of advantages of doing exercise in water. Water provides a gentle resistance to your movements which helps to improve strength and muscle tone. It is also buoyant and supports your body while it moves, which makes it safer and more comfortable, particularly for people who have weight or joint problems, or who are disabled in some way. There are lots of ways that you can benefit from exercising in water, from treading water to playing waterpolo.

In the Swim
The most obvious way to enjoy water is swimming. It's a healthy activity which can be enjoyed by anyone and will last for a lifetime. The health benefits of swimming are almost unmatched by most any other sport as it works your whole body, improving cardiovascular conditioning, muscle strength, endurance, posture, and flexibility all at the same time. Your cardiovascular system in particular benefits because swimming improves your body's use of oxygen without overworking your heart. There is also a low risk for swimming injuries because there's no stress on your bones, joints or connective tissues due to buoyancy and the fact that you weigh less in water. If you're looking for a safe daily workout routine, swimming is ideal because you can rigorously work out with a reduced chance of swimming injuries. Many athletes supplement their training with swimming.

Swimming pools are increasingly attracting attention from older individuals. Brian Andrews, Managing Director of Heritage Pools, a leading UK pool contractor says swimming pools are ideal for the older market especially. “Aside from the relaxation aspects, swimming pools also provide an excellent means of low impact exercise, ideal for older individuals. Water allows for a greater freedom of movement and so is perfect for those with restricted mobility, joint problems and conditions such as arthritis” commented Andrews. Heritage Pools suggest elderly clients consider a shallower depth than standard pools and look to include perimeter rails and easy access walk-in steps or even a hoist for those with severe restricted mobility. “Swimming pools designed the elderly may also need to run at a slightly warmer temperature (around 31°C/32°C) as elderly bodies lose heat quicker and users will tend to move around slightly less in the water” commented Andrews “as a result, the pools may require more specific chemical dosing as higher temperatures lead to a greater risk of water-borne diseases.”

Fun and Games
There are many other ways to keep fit in a swimming pool apart from swimming. Why not try a game of water netball, waterpolo, diving or synchronised swimming.

If you love the water go a bit more adventurous and try rowing, canoeing, kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, waterskiing or diving. These are all great ways to get fit and have fun at the same time!
Top of the class
Fitness classes such as aquatone are great exercise too. Here are some examples of aquatic classes:

Yoqua is the latest fusion concept from the US. Promising all the benefits of land-based yoga i.e. improved strength and flexibility but more importantly a healthy spine, moving the workout into the pool leads to a much more sensory and pleasurable experience. The buoyancy lends support to the body, allowing for greater stretches and the resistance of the water enhances the toning effects.

Becoming popular in the UK, Hydro-Tone is the latest fitness craze from the USA. A form of aqua aerobics which uses hand-held Hydro-Bells and foot-worn Hydro- Boots, the exercise is low impact and stimulates and stretches muscle groups as no other exercise can.

Aqua aerobics is more lowimpact than land-based aerobics but is still a fun way to work out which can take the drudgery out of your routine exercise schedule. It is an excellent way to burn off fat and build strength and aerobic capacity. In fact, water aerobics is known to benefit persons suffering from arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Find out how you can get a total body workout without breaking into a sweat! Contact your local swimming pool or gym for details of classes.