Swimming and Water Exercise

What is water exercise?

Swimming is a good exercise for people of all ages. Water exercise is any type of exercise that can be done in the water such as water aerobics or water jogging. It can be done in a pool, lake, or in the ocean.

What are the benefits?

Water exercise puts less stress on your joints than other forms of exercise like walking, jogging, and lifting weights. When you are in the water, there is less weight and stress on your joints. This means that you may be able to exercise in the water with less pain.

Water exercise also:

  • Improves your heart health
  • Lowers your blood pressure
  • Lowers your cholesterol
  • Raises your energy levels
  • Helps you lose body fat

It can also decrease your anxiety, help with depression, and improve your self-esteem.

What equipment do I need?

For swimming:

  • A bathing suit
  • A swimming cap or goggles may be helpful if you are swimming laps
  • A rubber wetsuit if you swim outdoors in cold water

Some swimmers will use a kickboard, hand paddles, or flippers as well.

For water jogging:

  • Water-jogging shoes
  • A belt with floats

If you take a water aerobics class, any equipment other than your swimsuit is usually provided at class.

What else do I need to know before starting a water exercise program?

As with any exercise program, check with your healthcare provider before you start.

Whenever you start a new exercise program it is important to start slowly and build up gradually. Go to the pool 2 or 3 times a week. If you are swimming, start with 1 or 2 laps and then rest. Over several days or weeks, you can work your way up to swimming nonstop for 20 to 30 minutes.

For other water exercises it is also important to start slow and build up over time.

It’s important to stretch before and after you exercise. Stretch your entire body and make sure you stretch your shoulders and back. It’s easier to stretch your muscles when they are warm. Five minutes of easy swimming or water exercise are good ways to warm up and cool down.

When you start exercising, you may be sore for 2 to 3 days afterwards. Muscle soreness is normal and should go away after you get used to your new routine. See your healthcare provider if you are concerned about an injury or if you have muscle pain that lasts more than 1 week.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-10-27
Last reviewed: 2014-10-27
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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