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Aquatic Exercise

By Jason Czarnosz LATC
Head Athletic Trainer Shawsheen Technical High School
Northeast Rehabilitation Health Network

Summer is a time for people to get together with
friends and family and enjoy the nice sunny weather, or a nice barbecue. 
Of course whenever there is sunshine we always look to find a place to
cool off, and whats not a better place to cool off than swimming in either a
nice cool pool, or a nice crystal clear lake. 
However, while we are enjoying ourselves at a barbecue, what are we
missing from our lives?  While we
are enjoying all the hot weather we are forgetting about exercising. 
One of the biggest excuses that you hear in the summer time is that,
“it is too hot outside to exercise.”  Well,
I have a solution that might solve all of your problems.  And that is to exercise in the water.

Yes, that is right Aquatic Exercise. 
Studies have been written that have stated that aquatic exercise can burn
as many calories as running on a treadmill. 
This can occur because water lacks some of the earths gravitational
pull that exists on land, which makes it a challenge to keep the body upright in
the water.  So, you are actually
working just as hard in the water as you would on land.

Working out in the water can be extremely
challenging because the buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure, the submersion in
water may present a versatile exercise environment that may be suited for your
specific individual needs.  An
individual can increase muscle strength, power, and endurance if they use proper
technique.  Keeping the body a float and stable will be important in any
type of aquatic exercise.

It is stated that using the waters buoyancy and
pressure, aquatic exercise can be described as assistive, supportive, and
resistive.  An assistive medium occurs when an individual moves a body
part passively upward and speeding up the motion as the individual gains
strength.  Speeding up the motion
will add resistance to the body part, which in turn will help an individuals
see strength improvements.  The
resistive technique can be made more difficult by using different types of
devices.  Extra resistance is used
by pushing or dragging flotation devices down into the water, or by just using a
webbed glove and trying to push it across the water.

Aquatic exercise can help boost core strength,
since your abdominal muscles and back muscles have to work constantly to
stabilize the body.  Therefore, some
exercise that might be helpful for you to do within the water are:

  • Jump Lung- Stand in chest deep water, step
    forward with your right leg, knee bent and right arm back with left arm
    forward.  Jump up high and then
    switch legs on the way down.  This
    exercise will help improve strength for quads, hamstrings, gluts, hip
    flexors, and lats.
  • Deck Dip- Stand in the shallow water with hands
    place firmly on the deck, jump up so your arms are straight, then slowly
    lower your body down until your elbows are at 90 degrees, then push yourself
    back up.  This exercise will
    improve your triceps, lats, and pecs.  
  • Fin Kick- while using fins grab an edge of a
    board, and at a moderate pace make small little kicks. 
    This exercise will improve your quads, glutes, and hip flexors.
  • Pendulum Kick- In waist deep water lean up
    against the deck with arms to your side. 
    Swing your legs up to the left, than to the right, and finally up the
    middle.  Continue this motion
    slowly while always keeping your legs under the water. 
    The pendulum kick will help you improve your abs, obliques, hip
    adductors, and hip abductors.
  • Jump Tuck- 
    Stand in chest-deep water with arms to the sides, jump up with your
    feet together pulling your knees up to your chest, hold for a one count
    before you lower your legs.  The
    jump kicks are good for your quads, hip flexors, biceps, and your shoulders.
  • Deep
    Water Running-  This is a great
    way to reduce the pounding that your knees and feet would take if you run on
    a hard surface.  You need to
    wear some type of flotation device, which will help keep you floating in the
    deep end.  Just like you would
    run on land, move your legs up and down and you can run in water. 
    You will be surprised to see how much exercise you will get by
    running in water.  This exercise
    will help you gain endurance.  If
    you are looking for a cardio work out than try some deep water running.