An amazing thing happens when I get into a pool. I feel light and giddy. I feel like playing and doing flips. Silly me! I actually did one, even though it took me eight tries. Yes, I failed seven times in public, but the feeling of the flip was so exhilarating and playful that it was worth every attempt.
I love the feeling of the water and how it takes away the drag of gravity and is so renewing and freeing.
I grew up near Lake Michigan and spent a lot of time there swimming and enjoying the beach. Then I moved to central Indiana, where people think any old puddle is a real lake. To me, it isn’t a lake if you can see across it. Still, I take what I can get. Most of the time that means I swim in a pool.
It is also nice that pools have stairs and less debris for my feet to get tangled in, such as seaweed. I do miss the great outdoors, the feeling of the lake breeze on my face, and the smooshing of sand between my toes.
Growing up, I just liked swimming. I never knew what a favor I was doing myself by just having fun in the water. Water provides resistance, like weights or bands. It also provides a great cardio work out at the same time by getting your heart pumping and all of your parts moving. Later in life I discovered water aerobics classes and love them to this day. They do the same things, but in a more directed approach.
When you are in water at waist level, the impact of walking on your body is half of what it is on land. It is 1/10 as much when the water is up to your shoulder.
That extra buoyancy can help prevent injury and allows people with muscle or joint pain to reap exercise benefits without the stress of land-based workouts. Water's buoyancy also makes it possible to move your body in ways not easy on land. That can help you boost your flexibility, especially if you have stiff or painful joints. It’s what helped me do my flip. There is no way I could have done that on land!
The resistance you feel in water allows you to work harder for a shorter period and reap the same aerobic and strength benefits you would on land. Since the water is cool and stimulating, it keeps me going and the lack of strain and pain may encourage you to keep going longer, as it does me!
I like to play with water weights too. They have foam weights that are barbell shaped that really give your muscles a workout. Gloves with webbed fingers also increase resistance in the hands/arms. They also make special ankle weights and shoes for the water to add resistance.
In water, I can do so much more with my body than I can on land--weight doesn't matter!
What do you like about being in the water?