Fitness enthusiasts are always on the lookout for innovative and simple workout techniques and are open to trying out new workouts.
An underwater workout is one of the simplest and fastest ways to sculpt your body. This emerging trend has let pools and gyms offer an increasing number of classes such as Water Boxing, Aqua Step, using specialised equipment to extend the normal range of exercises. As a result, it has appealed to a wider range of people.
It is a popular workout, because one can exercise underwater even while recovering from an injury or even if one suffers from health problems. It allows you to continue exercising without putting any stress on your injury, It’s the buoyancy of the water that reduces your weight, therefore putting significantly less stress on your joints, bones and muscles. Also, because your body is supported by water your heart rate is slightly lower, meaning aquatic therapy is relatively safe for obese individuals, pregnant women and those suffering from hypertension and heart disease. When under water, you can perform basically any type of exercises that you normally perform outside the water.
Listed below are some easy underwater exercises that can be performed at the pool’s shallow end:
Tread water – Start your workout with treading water. This may seem like a simple workout, but it will actually involve all your muscle groups, as you try to float. Try floating for at least 3 minutes, if you are a beginner and move your way up to 5 or 10 minutes as you get more advanced. While performing this exercise, try to keep your back straight, as this will make sure that you work your abs as well.
Knee-to-chest exercise – This movement is performed while standing on one leg, which is slightly bent, and one leg outstretched in front while one hand holds onto the side of the pool. It strengthens and stretches the muscles in the leg, hip and lower back.
Arm exercises – Start with simple arm lifts (with or without weights). Being under water, your arms may feel lighter, but you will still work on your muscles. After lifting, you can rotate them clockwise and then in an anticlockwise direction.
Lower body exercises – This movement is performed with one leg outstretched and the supporting leg slightly bent while one hand holds onto the side of the pool. It strengthens and stretches the muscles in the leg, hip and lower back.
Abs exercises – The abdominal muscles can be included in the water workout. Walking under water, maintaining your abs tight can be a starting point to work on your abs. Then lift one of your legs as high as you can. Find a wall grip and with your back to the wall, grab on to it, keeping your arms straight. Tighten your abs and try to lift both your legs as high as you can. Lift the legs to one side to work on your oblique muscles as well.You can even perform crunches in the water, but you can perform these only if you feel comfortable with floating on the water while you do these exercises.
Stretching exercises – After a session of aqua aerobics or water workouts, you will have to stretch. Position yourself in front of one side of the pool, facing the wall. Hold on to the edge of the pool (or a wall grip if there is one). Try to place your feet on the side of the pool while grabbing on to the wall grip as well. Inhale and exhale, trying to move your hips back. You can perform the stretches even before you start the workout, so that you won’t get any injuries.
Exercising in water is much safer than working out at the gym and there are lower chances of strains or pulled muscles.
*Data Courtesy: Dr A. Arun Kumar, Fitness head, Snap Fitness India