Water workouts can be a great way to expand your programming options, attract new clientele, and offer a variety of workout experiences for existing clients.
Water exercise is for many people a fun and healthy way to get cardiovascular and strength-training exercise.
Aquatic workouts have a lot going for them, due mainly to the medium’s unique physical properties. Of note is that the medical community has long employed the special properties of water as a medium for treating injuries and a way to rehabilitate patients. Water’s greater resistance compare to air and its buoyancy places less stress on the joints for a no-impact exercise experience. Unlike many other exercise environments, the pool provides a built-in “cushioned” space for workouts.
Once in the water, not only does one not have to worry about falling–since the water supports the body in every position–but the water can help down on sensations of fatigue because it’s supporting so much of the body’s weight. This obviously is not ideal for some exercise goals, but the property can be put to good effect for a number of others. Being suspended in water is quite useful for flexibility, for instance, due to the wider range of motion the body can achieve due to the greatly reduced force of gravity acting on the joints. This is why seniors, pregnant women and/or those with chronic back pain, arthritis, diabetes, and other conditions that may limit tolerance of land-based based exercise are often recommended to include water exercise several times each week.
When we think of aquatic workouts in a group setting, water aerobics classes often come to mind. Exercising in the water can also be beneficial to someone whose main goal is fat loss. On average, a 30-minute pool workout burns approximately 300 calories. Since 3,500 calories is the approximate equivalent of a pound of body fat, 3-4 exercise sessions per week in the pool can lead to noticeable weight loss in a matter of weeks.
Time in the pool can be of great benefit in resistance training, too. In order for strength training to work well, muscles need time to rest in order to adequately repair themselves. Again, since the buoyancy provided by water places far less stress on the joints and muscles, water-based exercise can be used for days off from the weight room as a way of keeping active while still allowing the body to recover.
The flip side of the unique beneficial properties of water is that the medium comes with a set of unique safety considerations. These should be well understood by the trainer before incorporating them into any exercise program. The rewards can be well worth the time and effort, however, since for many people, water workouts can be positive and beneficial exercise experiences like no other.
2. Westby MD. 2001. A health professional’s guide to exercise prescription for people with arthritis: a review of aerobic fitness activities. Arthritis Care and Res. 45(6):501-11.