Water can be an effective tool to aid exercising. The water slows down your movements and also partially supports your weight, meaning you’re much less likely to injure yourself. With the added support, exercising in water is also much gentler on your body, making it a great way to keep fit for those with arthritis or muscle or joint pain. Pregnant women will also feel the benefits of exercising in water. That’s not to say that people in great shape should stay away from the pool – all can reap the benefits of a water workout!
So, if you’re considering adding a huge dose of H2O to your fitness routine but aren’t in the mood to just swim lengths, why not try out one of these forms of exercise?
1. Aqua Aerobics
There are many reasons why aqua aerobics is so popular with the OAP crowd. It comprises of exercises you’d normally find in a normal aerobics class on dry land, but instead performed in shallow water. Typically, classes take place in a swimming pool and do not require you to fully submerge yourself. Essentially, aqua aerobics is a form of resistance training with a great pace that’s set by music. With water providing a resistance to movement, there’s a pull and push required to perform the exercises, giving a more balanced workout for muscles. Typically, the average class runs anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour, allowing participants to burn between 300 and 700 calories per session, depending on the length of time and difficulty level. Exercising in water also helps to reduce lactic acid build up, so you’re less sore for the next few days. Check out the timetable at your local swimming pool to find a class.
If you live by the coast, then why not give paddleboarding a try? It involves lying, kneeling or standing on a paddleboard, where movement is either provided by the waves, or by using your arms in a propeller motion to drive yourself forward. It may seem like your arms are the only thing being exercised, but paddleboarding also provides an excellent workout for your core, legs, back, shoulders and neck. In particular, pro paddleboarders are known for having rock hard abs, developed from a basic move known as ‘rotation in the stroke’. Using a combination of strength, balance and endurance, even leisurely paddleboarding can burn up to 430 calories an hour. In fact, it burns more calories than running or swimming. If you’re looking to purchase a paddleboard of your own, there’s an amazing variety of them available to suit every budget and skill level. Have a browse online to find the best cheap paddleboards on the market reviewed by other customers.
Give your upper body the ultimate workout with a spot of kayaking. It’s popular with injured cyclists and runners, as kayaking is a great way to keep fit. It also engages your core and legs for balance, so your whole body is involved in the exercise. It differs from canoeing in that the kayak has a double-blade paddle where the canoe requires a single-blade. You’ll also often find a canoeing on their knees, while a person in a kayak is seated, with their feet braced to create a strong and fluid motion when rowing. If you’re feeling up for the challenge, you can kayak upriver in the UK, or even head to one of the country’s white water river sections to get an adrenaline rush while you keep fit. Alternatively, you can punt along the canal before stopping off at the pub for a well-earned drink.
4. Water Polo
Let your competitive side loose with a game of water polo. The game was invented in the late 19th Century to resemble rugby – except it’s played in the water. Typically, water polo is played in water that’s too deep for standing up; so you’re burning calories even when you tread water. In addition to keeping your head above the water, players also need to move quickly, throw and catch the ball and work defensively against the other team. All of these actions develop strength and dexterity, and also burn an impressive number of calories. A typical game of water polo involves 32 minutes of intense exercise, split into 8-minute-long periods. With a warm up and potentially a practice game to start, you can expect to burn over 600 calories a session. Head to the Swim England website to find a water polo club nearby. There are around 15,000 people who play water polo in the UK, so you’re sure to find a team that suits your ability.
5. Scuba Diving
Thinking about scuba diving conjures up images of crystal clear waters, colourful coral reefs and the sun shining overhead. Luckily for residents of the UK, scuba diving doesn’t mean you need to hop on a plane to experience the above – there’s plenty of beautiful spots to explore right off our very own coastline. Like in the tropics, scuba diving in the UK involves a wetsuit, breathing apparatus and a pair of flippers to propel you in the water. If you’re considering a spot of scuba diving to keep fit, you’ll actually burn more calories in the temperate water of the UK than somewhere warmer. Typically, you can expect to burn up to 600 calories for every hour of scuba diving. If you decide to try your hand at scuba diving, make sure to take a course beforehand, as its important for divers to know how to enter the water safely. There are plenty of certification courses across the country, and they’re relatively affordable too. Once you’re certified you’re able to dive anywhere in the world, so you can keep fit even when you’re on holiday!