I love to go for a good long walk down the nature trail – it clears my head and is a great stress reliever. I come home completely relaxed. I was really upset when I injured my leg and the doctor said I needed to stay off it for a while. That meant no walking, because the stress would keep it from healing. He suggested a solution, and it has worked out great for me – aqua aerobics.
Water workouts other than swimming have become really popular because the water offers so many advantages. First, the resistance of the water when you’re pushing through it means that you get a solid workout. The effect of buoyancy is wonderful, because the body only has to support a fraction of its own weight in the water. That translates to a lightness which feels wonderful. Just bouncing around in the water was fun when we were kids, and it feels just as good for an adult. The water also provides a low impact option for workouts. Doing lunges in the gym means your foot will impact heavily when you stretch out to start the lunge. In the water, the experience is totally different, because the foot strike is so gentle. Here are some great resources with more information about aqua aerobics, especially water walking:
There are basically two ways to go for a walk in the water:
Shallow water walking. Just go to the community pool when the lap lanes are open. Begin walking up and down the lane with a good straight up posture, just like you would on the nature trail. You will have to lean forward a bit – this is where you really notice resistance, because it takes some effort to push through the water. It’s a good idea to wear some old sneakers, since the bottom of the pool can be kind of rough. Be sure to keep a water bottle at one end of the lane, to stay hydrated. Even though it won’t feel like it, you’ll be sweating.
Deep water walking. Put on a flotation belt made of dense foam, that straps around the waist. They have a section that extends up your back, which will maintain your body in good posture. Get into the deep end of the pool and begin a gentle walking motion. Let your arms swing like they would on a regular walk. You’ll find yourself relaxing into the rhythm of a walk just like you would out of the water. You will get a solid workout without putting any stress on a leg which might be injured. A person can maintain their fitness while they safely allow the injury to heal. To add some intensity, lift your knees higher, which will simulate walking up a hill.
Go as far as you would like. Since the buoyancy of the water makes aqua walking such a gentle experience, I can walk for a long time in the water, and it is similar to a long walk on the nature trail. Particularly in the summer, when the heat makes an outdoor walk uncomfortable, aqua walking in an indoor pool gives me a great workout, in a cool and pleasant environment. I come home relaxed and ready to take on whatever is next in my world.
My injury is almost healed, and water walking will continue to be on my exercise schedule. I think I must have been a water baby, because the water feels so pleasant I can’t get enough of it.
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.
Return from water walking to walking for exercise
Return to the Home Page for more fitness walking tips