Remember the days when you could run as fast as you could? Well, those days are still in reach. The only difference is that you can do them in the swimming pool. I know many of you already heard of water aerobics, but this is not the same. My water exercises are the same workout that I used to do when I was younger, but now I just do them in a pool.
I’m like many of you in that my body can no longer handle jogging or other high impact workouts. Exercising in the water strengthens your muscles almost just as hard but with the same or even better results. What’s even better is that you’re having fun in the pool!
My Track Coaches Were Right!
If you think swimming in a pool is a waste of time, my high school track coaches used to make the team do workouts in the pool to rest us from the everyday pounding on the running track. They knew it provided a great workout but it didn’t have the same harshness of our usual sprint intervals. Water workouts also have less recovery time since they were easier on our joints. At the time, we were young and we just used this day to goof off in the pool while our coaches tried to keep us focused on our workout.
Before I start my workout in the pool, I usually go to the hot tub first to get the blood flowing to all parts of my body. This way, it’s easier for my muscles to warm up and make them a little more responsive to moving. I then swim to the area of the pool where the water is about chest level. While staying in one spot, I slowly start jogging like I would naturally. I concentrate on keeping my form, balance and just keeping relaxed. I slowly increase my speed until a comfortable level so that I’m not straining or losing my balance. I do this for about 60 seconds and then either stop or lower my pace to a slow jog. I do this interval about five or six times. Sometimes, after a few warmup intervals, I increase my speed to a full-out sprint, but still staying in place and keeping my form and balance. The faster I go, the higher my knees naturally rise to increase speed. And the higher the knee is lifted, the more of the leg and butt muscles are used. Regardless of what speed I do, I can feel the water resistance more than any pounding from bouncing up and down. Make sure you’re using your using your arms as you would if you were running on land; this provides a great arm and shoulder workout. If you find yourself breathing hard, concentrate on taking deep breaths while you run. You should feel resistance in both your legs and arms. And what you don’t realize, is that you’re also working your abdominal muscles because your knees are going up and down and you’re using the stomach muscles to raise them. You’re also working your calves and feet, which provide ankle strength. You can use water weights to strengthen other parts of your body, but I wouldn’t recommend it because it just bulks up your back muscles. What you’re concentrating on is strengthening your legs and core and there’s better ways to strengthen and tone your arms.
Do Water Jumps Too!
If interested, you can also do jumps in the water. I do this as a way to increase my jumping ability and balance with less pounding on my body. It’s also a great way to increase your knee strength. I usually go to a shallower area, so the water is at stomach level. I then jump as I usually would be jumping and landing on two legs. You’ll get a bigger splash when you land but there’s very little pounding on my knees. I usually make ten consecutive jumps and do two or three intervals. During this time, I concentrate on jumping straight up so I land in a balanced position. Make sure you also use your arms to work your momentum up. Again, this is something you always did as a kid, but you haven’t done it in a while. You may not be doing any jumping as an adult, but these exercises make it easier for you to walk, run and improve balance.
Do Pool Exercises When You Travel!
I will say that when I’m in a public pool, I do feel a little conscientious about jogging in the pool. I usually do it where no one can see me or find a time when no one goes to the pool. I travel a lot for work, so I usually do them at the hotel where I’m staying and there’s no one around.
Another nice part about these workouts is that I usually do them when I go on vacation. When I’m on a trip, I tend to take a break from my usual workout of biking or lifting weights. I instead jump in the pool when everyone has left and do these simple exercises. You can do them in fifteen minutes. The great part is that they’re so low impact, you’ll have enough energy to do other activities later on like sight-seeing or going out at night. If anything, these exercises strengthen the leg muscles to make these activities even easier!
The Best Workout at Any Age!
I have not jogged on a consistent level in about twenty years. I’m telling you right now that you will not find another workout that’s better for strengthening your body, increasing metabolism, and strengthening your lungs. If you don’t believe me, Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the history of the world does it. As I mentioned before, the best part is there’s no pounding on your body. When I run or play basketball, I can’t do any exercises for two or three days because I need time for my body to recover. My workouts in the pools are so low impact, that I can do the same pool exercises the next day. My water workouts make it easier for me to walk, take the stairs, get out of my chair, and most importantly, have more energy to complete the day. After a few water workouts, you’ll be surprised on how quickly you’ll see the results. That tired feeling you’re having is possibly your body saying you don’t have the strength to complete your day. Once you do these exercises, you’ll have the energy of when you were younger!