Water Training – Not just for blue haired ladies anymore

When you think of aquafitness, you probably have an image in your mind of a group of older women with blue hair or floral swim caps bobbing to the oldies. While aquatic training is excellent for older adults, especially those with arthritis or other joint problems, it is also an effective tool for the most competitive athlete. Whether you are a weekend warrior who will run a couple of 10Ks this year, or you are an elite athlete, you should consider water training.

Considerably different than swimming, where you are horizontal, and focus on reducing resistance, aquatic training focuses on using the water’s natural qualities to typically increase resistance. “Vertical water training” as it is also described by Charlene Kopansky, the founder of the Canadian Aquafitness Leaders Alliance, is an ideal and potentially necessary addition to anyone’s workout regimen for the following reasons:

  1. The buoyant nature of water means that you can exercise with low impact in shallow (chest deep) water, or with no impact in deep water (potentially using a flotation belt).
  2. The increased density of water compared to air creates more natural resistance in every direction, allowing you to train virtually every muscle group in any plane of movement.
  3. With the use of additional equipment such as a flotation belt, tubing, paddles, or foam dumbbells, you can increase or decrease the resistance making it appropriate for any level of fitness and ability.
  4. The natural cooling effect of water controls body heat, reducing the risk for heat exhaustion that comes with hot and humid outdoor summer training conditions.
  5. The hydrostatic pressure water provides to the submersed body improves circulation while exercising, thereby allowing you to train with more intensity at a lower heart rate.

Just some of the applications of water training include water running for healthy or injured runners wanting to work the muscles but reduce impact, martial artists wanting to challenge their technique with added resistance, bigger or obese individuals wanting to exercise without impact, and athletes wanting to improve multi-directional fitness for sports like tennis, basketball, and volleyball.

While you do need water to participate in water training, you need only find a pool with chest deep or deeper water, or if you get to the cottage and have access to a lake, that can work equally well too. 

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