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Water Workouts: Exercise and Protect Your Muscles At the Same Time

By: Jody Smith

Exercising in the water is, according to the CDC website, the second most popular fitness activity in the country. It's a great choice for attaining an effective non-impact aerobic workout.

Moving in the water for a few hours a week can increase health and reduce vulnerability to becoming chronically ill. It's easier to exercise in water because joints and muscles are under less strain, as the water cushions and supports the body.

Exercising in the water can also elevate the mood, which makes this an ideal workout for people struggling with anxiety or depression. Additionally, women who are past menopause can achieve better bone health and density from time in the water.

Diabetics, as well as individuals with heart disease and arthritis, will find water exercise to be a gentle way to stay fit. Experts at Arthritis.org say good things about the relationship between people with arthritis and water exercise citing the gentle support to joints and muscles offered by the water, at the same time as offering resistance for a good workout.

Arthritis.org recommends that you ease into your exercise program in the water. Get acclimated to the temperature and let your muscles become relaxed before getting active.

A variety of exercises can be done in the water. Mayoclinic.com offers up many suggestions such as walking with hand webs. Hand webs are another name for webbed gloves that are worn in the water to make for greater resistance. 

This exercise involves walking in water that comes to your waist and swinging your arms through the water as you go. This can also be done in deeper water once you've gotten good at it at a waist-deep level. If you want to rev things up later, try jogging in the water while swinging your arms through it.

Want to mix a little fun with your workout? Ride a water noodle like a cowboy, while your arms press through the water. Noodles are actually more than just something to play with. You can do some serious action with a water noodle. Tie one around your foot and see how much exertion it will take to cause some movement.

Weights are always good in a workout and that includes underwater. You can get foam barbells made for just this purpose. Lying on a kickboard adds some variety and works out muscles in a different way. 

If you're in a pool, make sure water temperature is not too high, as hot water is not the most effective environment to work out. Shoot for temperatures around 83 to 88 degrees fahrenheit. A comfortable workout is one you'll want to do over and over again.

 

Jody Smith is a freelance writer for EmpowHER.com.

Sources:

 Health Benefits of Water-Based Exercise

http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/health_benefits_water_exercise.html

Water Exercise

http://www.arthritis.org/water-exercise.php

Slide show: Aquatic exercise how to's

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aquatic-exercise/SM00055

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