With the warm weather well and truly upon us summer is the perfect time to get moving in water. Not only is it a great way to cool down, your body and mind will thank you for it.
Swimming, walking in water, hydrotherapy and aqua aerobics are all great ways to exercise in water.
These activities are suitable for all age groups, from young children to the elderly.
Swimming is considered a low impact exercise, meaning there is a low amount of force travelling through our joints. It is therefore considered a great form of exercise for people with injuries, osteoarthritis and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
When we exercise in water, the water naturally creates resistance so as we move we are having to move against that resistance – this then improves our muscular strength. Swimming provides us with a whole body workout, strengthening our arms, shoulders, legs, hips and all important core muscles (for more information on core strengthening see Anthony’s previous post – core strength).
As well as building strength, swimming can help to improve posture (which is so important at a time where majority of us are spending a considerable amount of our day on computers and devices), flexibility and mobility, and is a great way to improve cardiovascular health and fitness.
Generally speaking exercising in water is safe for women during pregnancy. It is always recommended to seek medical advice before starting any new forms of exercise during pregnancy. The water helps to create buoyancy therefore reducing the amount of pressure on joints and ligaments. From experience I can say it feels amazing getting in the pool while pregnant and taking the weight of bubs away….bliss! Swimming can also help to promote optimal positioning of your baby within the womb for birth.
Not only is swimming great for physical health it is also good for mental health and improving sleep. It can be a relaxing, peaceful form of exercise helping to alleviate stress and switch off from the outside world.
Always remember to take it slow and build up gradually, warm up and cool down, and swim in a safe environment.
We are very lucky in Australia to have access to so many great places to swim, whether it be at the pool, beach, rivers or lakes, get out there and make the most of all the wonderful benefits to your health.