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While deep water is a place that swimming can occur, deep-water exercise usually refers to non-swimming aerobic workouts. These occur in water 7 feet or deeper, with participants wearing buoyancy belts. This non-impact, high-resistance activity can result in an aerobic workout for your entire body without causing stress on your joints. Talk to your physician before embarking on any new exercise plan.
Deep-water exercise focuses on strengthening your core, which includes muscles in your abdomen, hips, pelvis and lower back. These muscle groups work together to give you stability, strength and balance. Deep-water exercise strengthens your core by using the natural resistance of the water against your body to intensify your exercise. The water, unlike air, pushes back against your body, causing you to use more strength to maneuver in the water. Flotation devices are used during routines to keep you in a natural vertical position with the water coming up to your shoulders. Running and exercises that engage your arms and legs are typical in deep-water routines. Ankle and waist weights are sometimes added to increase resistance. Most workout routines last an hour, including warm-up and cool-down.
Deep-water exercise routines are appropriate for both healthy and physically challenged people. The deeper your body is in water, the less weight will be placed on your lower extremities. You can achieve and maintain an aerobic level of activity during deep-water exercise, elevating your heart rate to increase the amount of oxygen that reaches your lungs. You should participate in aerobic activity at least three times a week.
Routines for Physically Challenged
If you have arthritis or fibromyalgia, deep-water exercise routines can help reduce pain and stiffness in your muscles and joints and generally improve your ability to move pain-free while not in the water. A study published in the "Journal of Aging and Physical Ability" examined senior citizens who participated in 30 minutes of deep-water running twice a week for 12 weeks. Deep-water running was more helpful for improving the balance abilities of older adults than shallow-water exercises.
Always warm up before and cool down after deep-water exercise. This can be done by performing five minutes of walking or jogging at a relaxed pace in the shallow end of the pool. To participate in deep-water exercise routines, you should be able to swim. This will minimize the risk of accidents if your flotation device becomes dislodged or malfunctions and will increase your level of confidence in the water. Do deep-water exercises in a pool with a temperature between 83 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. If you feel nauseated or lightheaded or if you experience joint pain or swelling during deep-water exercise, exit the pool immediately and contact your health care provider before resuming this type of workout.