We’re in the lazy days of summer and I don’t know about you, but working up a sweat in the gym is not exactly at the top of my to-do list when I can get sweaty just from walking outside! Regular exercise is so important for our overall health though, so I’m always up for a fun work-out that incorporates something I already like to do — and with these sweltering temps, that definitely includes hanging out at the pool! Read my conversation below with aquatics trainer Jenny Lynn Patterson-Lacour to learn all about the underwater routine that will get you in shape without even breaking a sweat!
Katie Couric: What can an aquatic exercise routine do for you that a regular routine cannot?
Jenni Lynn Patterson-Lacour: When submerged underwater, your entire body experiences hydrostatic pressure. The water lightly hugs you, and in turn, opens blood vessels that allow more oxygen-rich blood to fill your muscles, heart and brain. In addition, water’s density creates 360 degrees of resistance around you so no matter which direction you move your arms, legs or travel your body through, you are experiencing added resistance – something you don’t get on land naturally! When you’re working out in the water, you not only build muscle strength and cardiovascular stamina, but also increase your joints range of motion and allow your muscles to stretch. Aquatic fitness routines give your entire body both length and strength!
Katie: How is aquatic exercise particularly good for those recovering from an injury or those suffering from arthritis?
Jenni Lynn: The effect of hydrostatic pressure when submerged in water results in more oxygen-rich blood to flow throughout the body – making the aquatic environment the perfect aid in recovery from injuries or post-surgery. Once cleared by your medical professional to get into a pool, water’s natural buoyancy will safely support you, allowing you to work on balance, strength, flexibility and stamina. Since the water also allows the body to move through greater range of motion, this may help prevent scar tissue from developing around surgery/joint areas. Those suffering from arthritis or other joint issues will find low impact aquatic exercise easier on their body and decrease joint/muscle pain and stiffness.
Katie: I read that people tend to actually be able to work out longer in the water than they can with land-based activities. Have you found that to be true?
Jenni Lynn: Along with increasing blood flow, water exercise decreases your heart rate. This drop in HR combined with the accelerated blood flow delays the onset of muscle soreness, so participants will not only feel less joint impact from being in water, they will also be able to work longer in the water than on land. This also induces delayed onset of muscle soreness, in which participants experience muscle fatigue/soreness about 24-48 hours after their aquatic exercise routine. The cooling effect of water temperature also makes working out in the pool more enjoyable – though don’t be fooled, I tell all my clients that my brand of aquatic fitness will make you S’WET™!
Katie: Could you offer up some examples of exercises that don’t require any extra equipment and could be done easily in the pool?
Jenni Lynn: Sure, here are ten easy exercises to get you started!
- High Knee Jog with Pumping Arms