Health Benefits of Water Aerobics

In This Article
Health Benefits Of Water Exercise
Pointers for Vertical Water Workouts
Water Aerobics Is Good For Injury Rehabilitation
Water Exercises Are Perfect For Seniors

Water offers a resistance and buoyancy that cannot be experienced when doing regular ground-based exercises. The benefits of water aerobics include lower blood pressure, increased bone density, stronger muscles, corrected body posture, pain relief, and weight loss. The calming effect of water on our bodies extends to our minds as well. Injured, obese, and elderly individuals can benefit the most from it.

Does your workout routine have you drowning in boredom? If you need a change of pace, moving your workout to the water may rekindle your enthusiasm, while at the same time providing some unique health benefits.

You might think you could not possibly get as intense of a workout in water, but research suggests otherwise. Due to the resistance of the water, it just seems like you can't work as hard, but in reality you are.

The water acts as a form of built-in resistance, as if you've surrounded your body with weights, making it simple to increase the intensity of your workout and challenge muscles that are harder to engage on land.

If you're overweight or obese, elderly, have arthritis, joint pain, osteoporosis, or an injury that makes weight-bearing exercise difficult or painful, water may be an excellent choice. Swimming or walking in water reduces the pressure on your back and knees.1 According to Kathy Stevens of WebMD

"To appreciate why water training works so well, you need to understand water's unique properties. In water, you have almost no gravity. You're relieved of 90 percent of your body weight, so you become buoyant. This frees you to move in new ways.

You can float, bob and relax without feeling like you're putting out an effort. Yet water provides 12 to 14 percent more resistance than air, so moving through it is like having weights all around your body."

There are many benefits of working out in swimming pools. Not only is it easier to stay cooler in a pool, but the workout itself has massive perks. Here are some additional benefits:


Health Benefits Of Water Exercise Or Water Aerobics

  • Increase muscle strength 
    Water is a flowing and constantly changing product of nature, and as such can be every unpredictable in its movements. Since water flows in multiple directions, the resistance in the pool can range from four to 42 times greater than air, ensuring the body’s muscles get a rigid workout.  In fact, a study conducted in 2007 found that after 12 weeks of regular aquatic aerobic exercise, participants had made significant gains in strength, flexibility and agility.
  • Improves Flexibility And Range Of Motion
    While exercising on land, your body movements are restricted by the effects of gravity and the fear of falling. When in water, you can let go of these worries. You can fearlessly increase your range of motion, exerting muscles that you would not otherwise be able to exert outside water.
    n a study on patients with osteoarthritis, aquatic exercises were seen to significantly improve knee and hip flexibility without any side effects.In another study, patients with a degenerative spinal condition too enjoyed improved flexibility and a greater range of motion after participating in an aquatic exercise program.
  • Low-Impact Exercise
    When strength training, the muscles require rest time in order to repair themselves. If lifting weights, on off days those that exercise are urged to use other muscles or simply take the day off. Due to the buoyancy of the water, and the lack of impact that joints and muscles receive, many exercisers are encouraged to perform pool workouts on off days. Pool workouts are the alternative to losing out on a day’s worth of exercise time, as they allow for active recovery. Not only can fat burning continue, but the active training can help build muscle quicker while continued conditioning occurs.

    Unlike many exercises, the pool provides a “soft” environment for workouts. Not only do you not have to worry about falling, as the water supports the body in every position, but the water also helps alleviate the feelings of fatigue because it’s supporting so much of the body’s weight. In addition, flexibility results due to the wider range of motion the body can achieve due to the absence of gravity acting on the joints.

  • Offers Relief From Chronic Pain
    Gentle waves hitting against you have a massaging effect on your skin – which is why a major benefit of water exercise is pain relief. By working against the water’s resistance, you can reduce stiffness and soreness to a great extent.Water aerobics can even alleviate pain from chronic conditions like knee and hip osteoarthritis.
    Aquatic aerobics are highly recommended for pregnant women suffering from lower back pain.People suffering from soreness due to extensive physical activity or stiffness due to joint problems should definitely give it a try too.

    The best part? All types of pain will improve – pain in your joints, muscles, and everything in between.

  • Build endurance 
    Unlike traditional weights, which require the human body to push and pull against the weight plus gravity, water resistance is a more natural resistance which requires the body to strain through the water rather than against it.

  • Stress Relief
    Like any regular exercise, pool workouts are great stress relievers. The exercise stimulates the brain to release chemicals that make the body feel good. When performing pool exercises in warmer water temperatures, the movement of water against and over the body results in both massage and relaxation. This calming effect can decrease, or eliminate the pain resulting from a workout.

  • Supports Bone Health By Increasing Bone Density
    Most people reach their peak bone mass by the age of 30. Thereafter, bone density declines, increasing the chances for osteoporosis and fractures.The loss in bone mass is a major problem of aging, particularly in postmenopausal women. Postmenopausal women over the age of 50 have the highest risk of osteoporosis.

    Only high-impact exercises can help decelerate this natural process. Water aerobics is a high-impact workout and can, thus, improve bone health.
    Having said that, while water aerobics helps strengthen your skeletal system, land-based exercises seem to be more effective.

  • Alleviates pressure on the joints
    Studies have shown water-based exercises such as water aerobics relieve pressure placed on joints from normal wear-and-tear and arthritis. In fact, hydrotherapy is shown to be the leading form of therapy for those suffering from joint problems.

  • Rectifies Body Posture And Treats Spine Problems
    The buoyancy of water supports the entire body, including weak muscles, allowing you to maintain proper balance when standing in water. With the added advantage of improved flexibility and mobility, exercising in water will benefit your posture. You will be able to elongate your spine to the entirety of its natural length without any discomfort.The water resistance will also make you more self-aware of your posture, helping you further.
    According to Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, water exercises have significant benefits on the lumbar spine.In a 12-week study on individuals whose spinal columns were progressively narrowing, water exercise helped improve their condition significantly.
    Water aerobics can be of immense therapeutic value if you have scoliosis, back pain, or other spine problems, or if you are beginning to hunch because of old age.

  • Burns calories 
    The combination of strength and cardio workouts mixed with water resistance in aquatic exercise ensures the body is getting a full workout. Depending on cardio activity, weight (including additional weights such as dumbbells and weight belts), water temperature, volume and buoyancy, the body can burn between 400 to 500 calories in an hour of exercise.

  • Protects The Heart By Lowering Blood Pressure
    Water aerobics improve blood circulation in your body. In one study, a 10-week course of water aerobics markedly reduced blood pressure in patients diagnosed with high blood pressure.
    Also, with the force of water on the lower half of your body, blood can easily return to your heart without your heart having to work extra hard for it. So, while you expect your heart rate to increase as much as it would if you exercised on land, the increase is much lower. Don’t let your heart rate be a measure of your workout intensity when exercising in water.

  • Cooling exercise 
    As temperatures get warmer and the summer heat draws near, the desire to exercise in the burning sun may suddenly not seem so appealing, and so naturally dipping into any body of water becomes alluring. Water aerobics can satisfy that need to feel cool in warmer temperatures while still enabling an athlete to exercise. It’s  cool, crisp and refreshing, especially knowing you aren’t struggling in the heat!

  • Promotes Healthy Bowel Function
    Thanks to all the muscle toning and strengthening, your pelvic muscles too get a good workout. This will help prevent incontinence by restricting the movement of stool in the intestines. You will gain more control over your bowel movement, allowing nature to call only when you want it to through voluntary bowel movement. Bowel movements will be comfortable and easy.
    So, if you’re dealing with bowel problems, do some water exercises. If weak pelvic muscles are the culprit, this activity will help.


Pointers for Vertical Water Workouts

Keep the following information in mind, as the dynamics are a little different than when you're exercising on land.​

  • Buoyancy supports your body and allows you to make larger movements than you can on land
  • Water depth should be between waist and chest high. In shallower water, there is more impact on your joints, and in deeper water, you will lose balance and form (unless you're doing deep water running, of course)
  • Wear shoes to protect your feet if you're in a natural water body and unsure of the substrate
  • Intensity increases as you increase the size and speed of your movements; remember that your heart rate will be roughly 10 to 20 percent lower when exercising in water, so you'll need to listen to your body adjust your target heart rate accordingly
  • Sculling and downward movements of the hands create balance and control
  • Before you start using resistance devices (webbed hand mitts, noodles, balls, barbells, or bands), make sure you are balancing your arms and legs to help coordinate and stabilize your movements
  • For good muscle balance, move in a way that works the body in all planes while maintaining proper body alignment
  • To maintain alignment, keep your abdominals tight to support a long, upright spine and tuck your hips slightly under (particularly when moving backward)
  • Avoiding static stretches is especially important in cool water
  • Drink plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration, which you may not notice because you're not feeling or seeing the effects of sweat or body heat
  • Water exercise should not be painful; this is a new exercise, so listen to your body
  • Try working out with a friend for safety and encouragement, and add music


Water Aerobics Is Good For Injury Rehabilitation

Fitness enthusiasts and marathon runners often pull muscles or have to endure painful discomfort due to long-term training. They can continue to maintain their form and fitness levels in water – but without any pressure on their injured joints or muscles. Because water is easy on the joints, relieves pain, and offers visibly therapeutic effects, we advise you to try aquatic aerobics and accelerate your recovery.

For those whose walking ability is compromised, aqua walking may help. Loss of balance, painful joints and muscles, and asymmetrically injured structures typically linked with a walking disability can be supported by water walking to a great extent.


Water Exercises Are Perfect For Seniors

It requires a conscious effort to remain fit as you age – something we all want but struggle to do. Water workouts can step in and save the day. Here’s how.

  • You will experience no physical stress
    Water aerobics suits all ages. Because of the buoyancy effect of water, aqua exercises can help relieve arthritis and joint pain and improve bone density and muscle mass in seniors.23 As we can surmise, the help that water provides with posture and balance can allow elderly individuals to perform exercises that they would not normally be able to.
  • You don’t need to fear falling
    Elderly people are more prone to falling than young and mid-aged populations. This may be because of the inevitable joint instability, muscle imbalance, and reduced lower body strength that comes with old age.24 25 A study was conducted on 15 elderly individuals to measure the effect of aqua exercise on fall-related issues. Aqua exercise therapy helped heal fall-related injuries and reduced further risks of falling in the test subjects.

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