Why is it so healthy to exercise in water (+7 exercises)

Whether it’s an indoor pool in the winter or you go swimming outside in the summer: sometimes it can be nice to spend a lot of time in the water. Not only for swimming, but also for sports in the water. This is a good option, especially if you have problems with your joints or muscles.

Training in the water is not a heavy burden on your body and there is less chance of injury. A perfect way to keep getting plenty of exercise. But how do you start?

Benefits of exercising in water

General Practitioner Tom Tulingex explains, “The main advantage is that you only have to bear 10 percent of your body weight during what’s called aqua training, thanks to the buoyancy of water. So you’re actually kind of weightless.” This has a number of main advantages. For example, you can train your muscles without putting a heavy load on your joints. The weight of the water is also evenly distributed over your entire body. So you can quickly work all the major muscle groups in your body.” Even your breathing muscles, says Tulingiks, for example if you’re submerged underwater during some swimming motions.

“Very interesting, for example, for heart and lung patients, but also for people who have been on a ventilator for a long time and need rehabilitation.” But those aren’t the only ones who benefit from this water exercise, according to the expert. People who are overweight, joint problems (such as osteoarthritis or rheumatism) or back complaints also benefit from this lower body load. “The swimming pool is also an ideal training ground for recuperation.”

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Burn calories with water training

What about the calories you burn when exercising in water? Teulingkx explains that water resistance and mass actually work like weights in the gym. “So your muscles have to put in more effort, which can increase your calorie consumption exponentially. Try to do slow, regular exercises without increasing your heart rate. In other words, you shouldn’t feel fatigued after a water workout.” According to a GP and sports doctor, this not only burns more calories, but also fat.

The important thing is to have enough energy before you start your semester. According to the expert, training on an empty stomach is not a good idea. “There is a real chance that you will indulge in sugar and feel that energy sink less quickly into the water. So always take a bottle of water or a sports drink with you and put it on the edge of the pool.” He explains that a good way to not “go into the red” during a workout is the so-called chat limit. “If you can still talk easily during exercise, you’re in the right place.”

Read also:
Swimming time: healthy swimming 6 times

To start with yourself? 7 exercises in the water

Want to do sports in the water right away? With the exercises below, you can get started in the pool. Of course you can also check that gym classes are offered in the swimming pool in your area.

1. Raise your knees

Stand with your back to the side and your arms resting on the side of the pool. Now extend your legs forward until they are parallel to the surface of the water, but keep your back firmly to the side. Then pull your legs toward your chest, extend them again and repeat. To diversify, you can also alternately raise your legs to the left and right.

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2. Create circles

Stay where your shoulders are covered. Extend your arms at the sides of your body and the ball of your hands into a fist. Now make small circular motions with your arms under the water. First in one direction and then in the other.

3. Waving the arm


Find a spot in the pool where your feet are firmly on the ground and your shoulders are in the water. Put your feet slightly apart for more balance. Now extend your arms in front of you with palms together. Then rotate it under the water alternately left and right. Rotate your upper body and hips with the movement of your arms.

4. Speed ​​races

Why Exercising in Water Is So Healthy (And 7 Pool Exercises)

Stand at the shallow end of the pool where the water is at waist level. Now alternately pull your knees up as far as possible so that it looks like you’re running straight away. Go as fast as you can and move your arms back and forth for more intensity. For variety, you can really “run” back and forth across the width of the pool.

5. Jump back and forth

Stay in the same place where your shoulders are covered. Imagine that there is an obstacle right below you, at the bottom of the pond. Now jump alternately to the left and right of that imaginary obstacle, pulling your knees high with each jump.

6. Push-ups

Stand on the edge where the water comes between your waist and chest. Turn your face to the side. Now place your hands shoulder width apart at the edge of the pool and push yourself as if you were getting out of the pool. Lower yourself slowly and repeat.

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7. Water treading water

Stay on the edge of the pool and face to the side. Again, place your hands about shoulder width apart and straighten your arms. Lift your feet off the ground and begin to alternate kicking back and forth with your feet as fast as you can. Keep your legs straight while doing this. If you slip, push yourself against the bottom and keep going.

text | Sunny de Lee
illustrations | Mireille Koenberg
picture | Getty Images

Megan Vasquez

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