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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Aquatic Exercise

Next to walking, aquatic exercise is the second favorite cardio workout most often cited by weight loss patients. Rapidly gaining favor in this age of “kinder, gentler exercise” water based exercise, when done correctly, provides a powerful workout that rivals many conventional fitness programs. In the water the body works against the water’s resistance and burns more calories. Aquatic exercise makes fitness fun, particularly for people with back and joint problems who avoid conventional exercise because of the pain.

Working out in the water is not only fun, it is hard work, say. The water has a 12-fold resistance over what’s in the air, yet at the same time cushions bones and joints from the impact of conventional exercise.

Some bariatric patients in the early post-op weeks and months may feel body-conscious about plunging into a pool of water with others for an aquatic fitness class. This is understandable – I certainly didn’t want to join a team of Olympic swimmers when my thighs were bigger than their little fish-like bodies! But the fitness industry realizes this too. Classes are now geared for different fitness levels. One class, called Deep-Water Walking, is a low impact class for those with arthritis or other joint problems. This class offers an excellent cardiovascular workout. Find a class in which you will be comfortable and you will likely return and advance your successful weight loss journey.

Aquatic exercisers are advised to participate in classes with certified trained instructors. Programs can be found at health clubs, YMCA’s and even some physical therapy providers. As with any exercise, be careful to advance into the program gradually and avoid injury. Drink adequate water before and after exercise to stay hydrated.

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