27 Mar Hobart Observer March article – Benefits of Exercising in Water
Here is my article published in the Hobart Observer in March on the benefits of exercising in water.
I spend much of my week taking water based fitness classes at Hobart Aquatic Centre and I’m always trying to get encourage the fit and able land based exercisers to jump in and have a go. Generally I’m met with a little resistance with comments such as the participant just does not feel the heart rate challenge when working out in water. So here I am determined to bust at least this myth when it comes to water based workouts. It can be just as challenging as any land based class, and more so when it comes to cardiac benefits, core activation and balance.
There are a few variables that affect the hearts response to being in water like the depth and temperature as well as whether you are vertical or horizontal. Generally the heart rate will be 10% – 13% lower in water than on land given the same amount of exertion. This is because the actual heart chamber pumps more blood each and every beat than on land and this is caused by the hydrostatic pressure caused by water (the deeper the better). This means the heart simply does not have to pump as fast as on land, but this does not equate to it being easier. This is great news for the heart and the participant – you get all the cardiac benefits without your heart beating so fast.
So now understanding this I’d encourage you to consider the amount of exertion during your water (or land) based workout. A researcher named Borg developed a chart of “perceived rate of exertion”. Basically this scale rated exertion from zero to ten. An example of zero is lying in bed totally relaxed and ten which can’t be kept up for more than about 10 seconds, with 5 rating ‘strong’. This can and should be used in any exercise regime, not just in water – listen to your body – are you exercising strongly? What can you handle and sustain?
So next time you are thinking about trying some new exercise product think water. It can be just as challenging, will give your joints and injuries a rest, and that same hydrostatic pressure that is making your heart chambers pump – well that will also reduce any swelling in your body, work your core and give you a perfectly symmetrical workout second to none. Come and find me at Hobart Aquatic Centre – I’ll show you what I mean!
Jo Cordell-Cooper owns the award winning business Active Solutions and Health Network. Water based fitness classes available at the Hobart Aquatic Centre include Aqua Bootcamp, 6pm on Mondays, Ante natal Aqua, Deep Water Aqua and Deep Water Gymstick. For more information check out www.activesolutionsandhealthnetwork.com.au or ring Jo on 0409 862206