Summer started in Arizona. It’s too hot to hike, walk or run. The gyms are closed because of COVID-19 so what does one do? Gain weight? No, we hit the pool! Water aerobics is an excellent alternative to going to the gym. It’s not just for old folks either!
People of Any Age with Underlying Medical Conditions are in the High Risk Group
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) as they learn more about the coronavirus, update their list of people who are in the “at risk” category.
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and asthma
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)
- Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
The one that you could do something about right now is obesity. Calculate your BMI here, once you see that you’re in the obese range, then start lowering the weight number till you get out of it. That’s your goal weight.
Personally, that’s always been a struggle with me. When I started working with Dr. French to lose weight, I did. I actually got down — almost — to my goal weight losing 40 lbs total. Then, my mom fell and broke her hip in Puerto Rico and I had to fly there to put her in a nursing home. Because of the stress of the trip and the food choices I had, I gained back 10 lbs. I went on the keto diet, lost some weight, but then, I got gout. So I stopped. I gained back 20 lbs.
So, currently, I’m 8 lbs into the obese category so that’s my first goal. I also have asthma. Not much I can do about that. So, I have no other choice, but to lose weight. You try to be careful as you go out into the COVID-infected world, but you never know when you’re going to get it. You can get the latest from the Arizona Dept. of Health Services here.
Now, the issue is getting enough exercise as the COVID-19 lockdown continues. Gyms are closed. It’s way too hot to hike, walk or run outside — even in the early mornings. So, I tried to do some exercises at home, but those are boring. Sure, there are videos on YouTube to follow, but I have very little space. What’s left?
They’re fun and not just for old folks! Here are some of the benefits of water aerobics from Health Fitness Revolution:
- Increase muscle strength – Water is a flowing and constantly changing product of nature, and as such can be very unpredictable in its movements. Since water flows in multiple directions, the resistance in the pool can range from four to 42 times greater than air, ensuring the body’s muscles get a rigid workout. In fact, a study conducted in 2007 found that after 12 weeks of regular aquatic aerobic exercise, participants had made significant gains in strength, flexibility, and agility.
- Build endurance – Unlike traditional weights, which require the human body to push and pull against the weight plus gravity, water resistance is a more natural resistance which requires the body to strain through the water rather than against it.
- Increases flexibility – As the body is subject to water resistance during water aerobic exercise – which requires movement in various directions while adjusting to the push and pull of water – the joints naturally increase their range of motion. A study conducted in 2013 found a significant increase in flexibility after subjecting a group of older adults to aerobic therapy exercise.
- Low-impact exercise – We may not often think of it, but the traditional impact we place on our joints during a “land workout” can be taxing. In water aerobics, the buoyancy of the water helps takes off some of the impact we tend to place on our body, due to our own water weight. In layman’s terms, our body’s is not subject to gravity in the water, therefore the impact our joints take on when, say, running in water, is not equal to the impact when running on land. This is particularly appealing to those with joint conditions such as arthritis or those currently undergoing physical rehabilitation.
- Alleviates pressure on the joints – Studies have shown water-based exercises such as water aerobics relieve pressure placed on joints from normal wear-and-tear and arthritis. In fact, hydrotherapy is shown to be the leading form of therapy for those suffering from joint problems.
- Relieves stress and decreases anxiety – Watching bodies of water in motion can be one of the most soothing activities one can take part in to help relieve stress, which is why vacations to beaches and island paradises are so popular getaways. But being in the water can be just as relaxing! A Polish study conducted in 2007 found that aquatic exercise significantly decreased anxiety and negative mood states in women.
- Burns calories – The combination of strength and cardio workouts mixed with water resistance in aquatic exercise ensures the body is getting a full workout. Depending on cardio activity, weight (including additional weights such as dumbbells and weight belts), water temperature, volume and buoyancy, the body can burn between 400 to 500 calories in an hour of exercise.
- Reduces blood pressure- Water resistance is not just a buoyancy feature to help work the muscles. In fact, the water pressure actually works with your blood as well and enables one’s blood flow to circulate more effectively throughout the body, effectively decreasing blood pressure and, in the long run, decreasing resting heart rate. This benefit means your heart is maintaining its productivity while putting less stress on your heart!
- Cooling exercise – As temperatures get warmer and the summer heat draws near, the desire to exercise in the burning sun may suddenly not seem so appealing, and so naturally dipping into any body of water becomes alluring. Water aerobics can satisfy that need to feel cool in warmer temperatures while still enabling an athlete to exercise. It’s cool, crisp and refreshing, especially knowing you aren’t struggling in the heat!
- Popular activity – Water aerobics is not limited to any age group or skill level. As a result, water aerobics is known to a be one of the most popular bonding activities for friends and family. The sport appeals to all ages – with younger generations naturally enjoying the fun to be had in swimming pools while still appealing to the older generations and their need to maintain a moderate level of physical fitness.
Ask a friend who has one if you can come over and exercise. That’s what I did when I lived back in Florida. I had a friend who had just gone through a knee replacement and water exercise was the best thing for her. I’d go over to her pool a few times a week after work. I helped her recover and I lost weight, too!
Today,I live in an apartment complex. Best time to go in the pool is the early morning. The kids aren’t up yet and I have the pool to myself. The water temperature is regulated by the overnight temps. Here in Phoenix, the overnights are in the 80s even the 90s, so the water’s just the right temp and the sun is tolerable at that hour.
Sure you can buy “dumbbells” and other things for water aerobics, but kids’ noodles work just as well. I got 3. One of them, I cut up and use them like dumbbells and 2 I use to put around me and lean on as I do crunches.
Now, I’ve taken lots of water exercise classes in my day so, I know the routines. I’ve searched on YouTube for some workouts and those videos are at the bottom, but you can search and discover your own. Just about anything you do on land you can do in the water.
Put together an hour’s worth of your favorite upbeat music. I happen to like a series of disco-style songs, “Hooked on Classics” by Louis Clark and the Royal Philharmonic. I have them on my phone, and I arranged them for the perfect workout. And the great thing is I love it! It’s fun!
Make sure you take plenty of water and put on sunscreen. I wear a hat and sunglasses, too.
Boosting your immune system will also help you better combat the coronavirus if you get it.
Please contact Dr. French’s office for an appointment to speak with him before trying water exercising and any exercise for that matter. He can also guide you on how to strengthen your immunity.