Watery Workouts: When it's sweltering, take a dip to stay fit

Published on Saturday, 12 July 2014 18:32 - Written by Coshandra Dillard cdillard@tylerpaper.com

With temperatures in the 90s, people prefer to stay indoors instead of exercising in the heat.

To beat the heat and get in the daily 30 minutes of exercise, swimming or other water exercises are ideal options. Water-based exercises provide a plethora of health benefits.

They’re helpful for everyone, but especially to individuals who are overweight, are seniors or those with joint problems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water-based exercises improve the use of affected joints and decreases pain of people with arthritis. People with rheumatoid arthritis have more health improvements after participating in hydrotherapy than with other activities, according to CDC reports.

Working out in water places an upward force on bodies, or buoyancy. It creates a lesser pull of gravity, feeling as though the body weighs 90 percent less in water than on land. The water offers support and improves strength and mobility, an important benefit for people in rehabilitation.

“You can do anything in the water that you can do on land,” said Sharon Hambrick, who has taught an aquacise class at Tyler’s YMCA for about 15 years.

Ms. Hambrick’s class comprises stretching, an aerobic routine, toning and a cool down during a one-hour slot.

Tricia Watkins has taken the class for about two years. She enjoys variety — she also line dances and works out in the YMCA weight room.

“I like it because it relaxes me and it’s a different way of toning my muscles,” she said. “You don’t exercise. The water does because of the pressure.”

Water is about 800 times denser than air. That pressure, when emerged in water up to the neck, applies resistance, forcing people to engage their muscles without feeling like they are.

Water exercises also help with depression symptoms and improve mood. In addition, CDC reports also state that water-based exercise can improve the health of mothers and their unborn children and has a positive effect on the mothers' mental health.