Water exercise is good for whole-body conditioning and cardiovascular health. It keeps joints limber and tones muscles. Additionally, aqua fitness is low impact and regulates breathing. According to Blue Mind Theory, water also boosts mental wellness and overall well-being. Its vast therapeutic value should not be discounted.
People of all ages and abilities benefit from exercising in a pool because, as Healthtrax reports, “water aerobics is a low-impact activity that reduces the pressure on bones, joints, and muscles through buoyancy.” Being in a pool can also reduce a person’s body weight, which allows people of all ages to maintain a safe workout. Even though some aqua exercise movements use more energy and burn more calories, they are done much slower than they would on land.
Water’s built-in resistance allows people to exercise more intensely than they can during land-based workouts. As a result, they burn more calories, even walking.
Physical therapists recommend aqua walking during recovery from hip or knee replacement. Water’s nature provides resistance with each step. The gentle pressure massages the muscles and improves blood circulation.
Advocates say this part of rehab starts to rebuild lost muscle tone. As a result, building muscles during water exercises can help to make floor exercises easier.
Water Exercises for Everyone
Water exercise benefits everyone, no matter their ability or age. All Individuals, whether they use a wheelchair or able-bodied, will find a workout suited to their abilities.
Wheelchair users transfer to one designed for water, then lowered into the pool. Depending on their needs, they can use a floatation device to help them as they exercise with or without assistance.
Arthritic sufferers can find relief from related aches and pains in water-wellness classes. These trendy classes can be found at YMCA/YWCAs and community or recreation centers. YouTube offers many videos demonstrating aqua exercises of all levels.
Blue Mind Theory
What is the Blue Mind Theory, and how is it tied to exercising in water? According to MI Blues Perspectives, “Water in the ocean, rivers, lakes, and even baths can make us feel calmer, increase well-being, and boost creativity.”
Water emits negative ions that may contribute to how the mind and body are affected. The Blue Mind Theory offers ways to use water to improve overall wellness.
Blue Mind describes the mildly meditative state of mind that happens when a person is near, in, under, or on water, often called water-associated peace.
A 2019 study indicates that watching fish swim around an aquarium for at least 10 minutes can significantly lower a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. The water increases the neurotransmitter dopamine — the feel-good hormone. Being around water also causes a person’s brain to release oxytocin — the happiness hormone. Moreover, it decreases cortisol — the stress hormone.
When watching a waterfall or ripples in a pond, even the spray of water that follows someone diving into a pool or lake can produce feelings of awe that raise a person’s compassion.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Canadian Chiropractic Association: 9 benefits of getting your exercise in the pool, lake, or ocean
British Heart Foundation: Take the plunge by Aaron McDonald
Mayo Clinic: Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms
Healthtrax: 5 Benefits Of Water Exercise
MI Blues Perspectives: What is Blue Mind Theory? By Shandra Martinez
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