Get fit while all wet: Water fitness is a healthy, fun, challenging way to sweat

Are you perhaps a little tired of the same fitness routine you had this winter? Why not try a change of pace from your regular workout style and move your fitness to the pool?

Water is a wonderful change for those who sweat hard when they take on exercise. Water fitness is not only a welcome, cool change, it is a healthy, fun, challenging way to sweat.

When you first try exercise in the water, you will find it isn't necessarily easy. Water places resistance against all parts of the body and adds to the weight you lift with any movement. The deeper you stand in the water, the more weight you will lift. If you are one of those people who don't like to get your head wet, you can do all your aerobic conditioning in the shallow end of the pool with less water weight while not getting splashed.

Run in place, jump, straddle, and lunge - it all works to keep your heart rate up and build your endurance. For normal floor work, you can do poolside abdominal strengthening, as well as leg and arm work. It is easy to learn, and all of your arm strength moves can be handled while you do your running sequences with simple pool exercise implements.

Once you have been in a pool exercise class, and you have learned the needed moves, you can take that knowledge with you when you travel. Find a motel with a pool, and you are all set.

If you suffer hip, knee or ankle disabilities, the water element for exercise is perfect. For those who are pregnant or overweight, water provides a safe support medium. Your body is supported about 85 percent in water, depending on the depth you are standing in. And if you have any lung deficiencies, the resistance of the water weight against your chest will exercise your lungs. One factor you will need to consider is lowering your weight-bearing exercise. Water support reduces the amount of impact and weight carried on your body while you exercise, a factor needed for strengthening bones.

Deep-water fitness with full flotation is another way to attack pool exercise. When you move the whole body to complete a movement, you are not only working harder, you are softening the use of the muscles and getting longer muscle movement.

Pool exercise can be done in any body of water, even if you are at a lake or a houseboat. There is no end to the different exercise movements that can be accomplished in water. Pool exercise is cool, and it's fun. You will also find it a challenge and a welcome change from winter indoors fitness.

n Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Senior Center.


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