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Marsh column: Tips for a good water workout

Q. I love the water. Can I get a good workout in the water and can you give me a water exercise workout other than swimming?
A. I personally love the water, but I just don’t seem to have time to get in the water.
Let’s first look at all the benefits water exercises have:
– Increases muscle strength and endurance. The resistance of the water increases your strength. You could add things like dumbbells, mittens. etc. to add resistance.
– Cardiovascular fitness equals improved heart and lung function. Injured people who can no longer do land exercise can minimize the loss of fitness and muscles by going in the water.
– Improved flexibility. Your buoyancy in the water takes the load off your joints. Water creates a significant degree of weightlessness, allowing you to perform movements with ease.
– Increased self-esteem and confidence. You don’t have to know how to swim. If you want to hold on to the side while exercising, that is fine, but in no time I see people who were scared of the water exercising all over the pool!
– Less pain in joints and muscles.
– Social interaction and new friendships.
At our YMCA, if you ask the water exercise classes they all will agree with the above benefits. We have a phenomenal water exercise program with superb instructors. There are levels for anyone from low intensity to high intensity classes, all of them lots of fun.
Since you don’t realize how hard you are working, it is best to go by perceived exertion, which is your own estimate of how hard you feel you are working. You could use the scale one to 10. (One barely doing anything, 10 ready to pass out!)
At our pool there is always a lifeguard on duty but if you are at home or at a pool with no lifeguards, always have someone nearby.
A water exercise workout could look like this:
– Run or walk in place
– Alternate knees up
– Alternate knees side to side
– Alternate hamstring curls (heels to butt)
– Alternate kicks to the front
– Alternate kicks to the side
– Both knees up to chest
– Both knees up to side (like a frog)
– Both feet kick to the front (can be low kicks)
– Run or walk forward and back
– Run or walk side to side
– Twist
– Run or walk while pushing your hands forward
– Run or walk while pushing hands sideways
– Jumping jacks, but keep hands in water and close them in front of you
-Cross country skiing with big arm movement
Now … didn’t that feel good?!
nnn
Ester Marsh is associate executive director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA. Contact her with health and fitness questions at 704-636-0111 or emarsh@rowanymca.com.

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