Try water exercise, which offers a gentle yet challenging way to combine strength and balance training—both recommended as part of the new exercise guidelines issued by the American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association.
Water’s buoyancy and constant resistance provide many advantages, ranging from a perpetual balance-training activity to more rounded weight-training, all while reducing strain on joints.
“No matter what you’re doing, you’re automatically muscle-balancing, working opposite muscles,” says Indiana University fitness expert Carol Kennedy-Armbruster, a lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology who’s been teaching water-exercise classes for 27 years. “Balance training is easier because buoyancy assists the movement. We can do balance exercises throughout the whole workout because the water adds support, and we are in an upright functional position.”
Other benefits include:
- Provides a low-intensity cardio workout once participants are strong enough to move quickly through the water.
- Provides a degree of flexibility training because of the range of motion required for the moves.
- It’s a non-weight-bearing exercise, so it can be suitable for people with hip and knee conditions.
- Little can be seen underwater, reducing the anxiety people feel from peer pressure or body-image issues that often arise in aerobics or other group exercise classes.
- Enjoyable for special populations, such as those with arthritis, because water can warm the joints.
Stay cool, and tune in tomorrow for our end-of-the-week organic recipe: Fish Sticks in a Flash.