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Millions of active adults are finding that one of the secrets to a longer healthier life can be found in the pool. People are choosing water as exercise for a variety of different reasons. For some it’s the sensation of weightlessness and ease of movement that results from buoyancy. For others it’s the feeling of support and force from the hydrostatic pressure and viscosity of water. Others simply enjoy the experience of being in the water. For centuries people have used water for healing and rituals. It’s the oldest rehabilitation modality taken advantage of by many cultures over the last 2500 years. Our bodies are composed primarily of water. Thus for many it’s a natural place for rehabilitation and exercise.
Few people however, understand the magnitude of water’s healing effects. Yet much research over the centuries validates this and recent research adds further understanding: According to Dr. Bruce E. Becker, author of Considering the Biologic Aspects of Water, “The aquatic environment produces physiologic changes that help remove metabolic waste,improve cardiac function, lower blood pressure, and assist the body in tissue healing.”
With regard to the circulatory system, immersion in water causes the cardiac volume to increase by nearly one third. Since the ultimate purpose of the heart is to pump blood, its measure of performance is the amount of blood pumped per unit, this makes water perhaps the ideal cardiovascular conditioning medium.
Turn Back Time
Research shows that a regular water exercise program can slow down and even turn back the aging clock. As most people age, their joints become less flexible and more prone to damage during weight bearing exercise, especially running and jogging, both of which can cause injury quickly when undertaken at a too-strenuous pace. By contrast, swimming and water exercise combines the aerobic benefits of a vigorous workout with the muscle building benefits of weight training without putting strain on muscles, tendons and joints. Swimming and water exercise is often recommended for people with arthritis and other chronic conditions and can actually reverse joint damage in some cases.
The water provides resistance in all directions, so both sides of the muscle pair can be strengthened simultaneously for an effective time-saving workout. Muscles respond to strength training at any age and the water is especially effective at targeting hard-to-reach muscles–including the abdominals.
For people turning to the water as exercise as a result of injury, the advantages are profound. The ability for an athlete to continue cardiovascular training during an injury or someone recovering from surgery who needs to limit the load on their joints can benefit tremendously from water exercise.
Pool & Aquatic Class Schedules
MAC offers a large and varied aquatic class schedule which can be accessed on the links below, as well as a wide variety of aquatic programs.