Why do so many people dig water workouts these days? Well, to begin with, our bodies have almost 60 per cent water.Second, water is natural and organic.Working out under water makes us closer to ourselves, our origins. No wonder then, it's such a rage the world over. Armed with aqua dumbbells, webbed gloves and floating belts, fitness enthusiasts are moving their gyms under water. Be it cross trainers, exercise bikes, Pilate balls or treadmills, all fancy exercise gadgets are going diving... and for good!
Taking the world of underwater fitness by rage are aqua boot camps that include core training, balance, flexibility and strength exercises through the use of webbed gloves and foam buoyancy balls. "Any workout that you do in a fitness centre can be done inside the pool as well - be it yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, Zumba, aerobics, cardio, sculpting or stretching," says Kiran Sawhney, Delhi based fitness expert. Plus it's less sweaty and tiring to work out in water. In fact, you come out of the water fresh and relaxed, despite burning a lot of calories.
After the success of aqua aerobics in Delhi, Sawhney has started aqua tango (see pic below), a first-of-its-kind water workout where you dance with your partner under water and get the same benefits as aqua aerobics. "Aqua aerobics is a complete health regime. It takes care of your cardiovascular fitness, strengthening and flexibility. To get more varied benefits, you could combine it with other forms of exercise like Pilates (Aqualates), taekwondo (Taekwonaqua) or yoga (Yoqua)," says Sawhney.
"There are many different underwater exercises like weight exercises, jogging, walking, squatting, running, high-knee sprints and spinning in the water. But the most popular nowadays is underwater treadmill training. It is revolutionising physical therapy, sports medicine and rehabilitation," says Gundeep Singh, a therapist. An underwater treadmill is a great option for those looking to add extra mileage without the extra wear and tear.
Exercises in water have a bigger impact than the ones done out of it. Take your workout under water to pamper your heart, increase blood flow and build lung power. "The hydrostatic pressure, i.e., the force of the water against the body, acts like a massage, thereby pumping the blood to the heart more efficiently and running the respiratory system better," explains Sahwney. Water workouts can be performed more easily by people who find lifting weights, or even weight bearing exercise, difficult or painful on land.
Water also provides buoyancy and support for the body. "Unlike swimming, vertical exercise seeks to maximize resistance. But one should go deeper for that. As a result, it is easier to keep those nasty midlife inches from accumulating in all the wrong places. Water can even improve and maintain balance as it takes the pressure off the spine," says Sawhney.
While water workouts are in tense, they do not feel so challenging. In fact, water cushions the impacts on the l joints, which is why hydrotherapy with warm water works really well for people with bone problems. It increases blood flow, delivering more oxygenated blood to areas of the body which help in recovering and healing the tissues and muscles."Warm water is soothing for muscles and can release tension associated with arthritic conditions, like decreasing pain and inflammation. Several studies have shown it is an effective treatment to ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis," says Singh.
- Published in Health