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Water Workouts Are Worth It

You don’t need to be an Olympic swimmer to get a good workout in the pool. Water jogging will provide you with a total body workout—without submerging your head in the water.

So, you want to reap the benefits of a pool workout, but you don’t know how to swim the basic freestyle stroke, butterfly, or breaststroke?

Or maybe you have a fear of submerging your face in the water. There’s no need to spend time and money on swim lessons, because you can get just as good a workout with two forms of water running—deep-water running and shallow-water running.

Today this form of exercise is growing in popularity across the country as people of all ages and fitness levels find the water to be an excellent source of therapeutic exercise. Pregnant women, the elderly, teenagers, and competitive athletes are all able to benefit from this naturally-resistant form of exercise.

Water jogging is a terrific alternative to regular jogging which can be too hard on the knees and joints and it is great for people who want to cross-train and literally take the load off their body.

It has also become a regular practice for those who are overweight or pregnant. With virtually zero impact, it provides a weightless form of exercise, minimizing the risk of injury compared to most weight bearing activities. Water's buoyancy reduces one’s effective weight by about 90 percent which lessens the risk of injury or sore muscles after exercise.

Jogging in deep water burns about 350 calories for every half hour of exercise, while jogging on land burns about 300 calories per half hour. This may not seem like much of a difference, but after the course of a few weeks, it really adds up!

Water jogging allows you to knock out two birds with one stone. Since it makes your heart and muscles stronger, it increases your cardiovascular fitness. It also provides resistance training, which increases your muscular strength the way weight-lifting does.

Once you decide that you’d like to participate in water running, you’ll need to figure out whether you’d like to engage in deep water running or shallow water running. Deep water running will provide you with less impact and a better overall workout.

Because of the increased resistance of the water, you will have to put out a greater effort that incorporates more muscular work. Remember, only the top of your shoulders, neck and head should be above water when deep-water running.

You’ll have greater impact with shallow water running, but it’s still going to be much less than on land. When shallow water running, a flotation belt is very helpful, too, since it'll assist you to float in place. 

Important tips to follow during your workout: 

  • Always begin with a five-minute warm up and end your session with a five minute cool down.
  • Maintain good form keeping your core engaged and your shoulders back.
  • Run as you do on land: flexing your legs, hips and ankles and include your arm swing, too.
  • Even though you may not feel yourself sweat in the water, your body still perspires, so be sure to hydrate before, during and after your workout.
  • Jog in circles and up and down the pool from the shallow area to the deep end for a complete workout.
  • Invest in a pair of aquatic exercise shoes designed for aqua jogging. Going barefoot or wearing street shoes increases your chance of injury.
  • Get a better workout by adjusting the speed and size of your movements in the water.
  • Cup your hands while you push or pull the water away from you to increase the water resistance.
  • Use paddles for your arms and legs for a more intense workout.
  • Both deep-water running and shallow-water running can provide a challenging yet fun workout.

Be patient with yourself as it sometimes takes a few weeks to adjust to the way your body moves and feels in the water.

Here is a list of area pools that offer open-swim hours for aqua joggers:

Capitola/Soquel: Spa Fitness

Scotts Valley: , 

Santa Cruz: Simpkins Swim CenterHarvey West Pool24-Hour FitnessToadal Fitness

Watsonville: City of Watsonville Parks and Community Services

Whitney Wilde September 03, 2011 at 04:12 PM
There is also a senior program called Silver Dolphins for those age 50 and over. It happens at the Boys & Girls Club in Downtown. Aqua-aerobics classes are every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It is only $25 a month!
Rising together September 06, 2011 at 05:51 PM
There is a wonderful product for doing this at home! The Michael Phelps Swim Spa! We started selling these 3 years ago because we strongly believe in the benefit of aquatic workouts and many people in Santa Cruz do not have room for a traditional pool. We have units that are 11’ long and will fit in many smaller yards that come with exercise equipment! Check us out at www.ilovehotsprings.com

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