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Swimming, Stretching and Working Out the Kinks in Your Body at a Fitness Center

Swimming, Stretching and Working Out the Kinks in Your Body at a Fitness Center

The human body weighs less in water, so there’s a sense of natural buoyancy when you go swimming at a fitness center.  Although you’re working your body hard, you still get the feeling that you’re floating around and having fun.

Additionally, water provides a certain amount of resistance, which can build muscles.  Lifting weights in the gym is generally referred to as resistance exercise.  In a pool, however, you don’t have to use weights because the water provides the resistance needed.

A third benefit of exercising in a pool is that your body is more flexible in water.  So it’s easier to stretch further without hurting yourself.  Here are some pool exercises that are fun and easy to do:

  1. Leg, Arm and Neck Circles.  As the name of the exercise suggests, it involves moving your legs, arms and neck in circles.  Make sure that you submerge your legs and start by rotating one leg at the hip in as wide a circle as you can make.  Do 10 reps and switch to the other leg.  You can follow this with your arms but keep them submerged the entire time, even if this means your circle can’t go beyond shoulder level.  Then submerge your neck and do 10 neck rolls in one direction followed by 10 in the other direction.  These exercises are great stress-busters after a long day at work.
  2. Back Bend.  Holding on to one edge of the pool with both hands, kick your legs up the back until your body is floating on the water, stomach down.  Then lift your neck and feet off the water and arch your back as much as you can.  Hold for a couple of seconds and then bring your legs to the front, curling up in a fetal position.  Repeat 5-8 times, depending on the level of stress in your back.
  3. Twist.  Many people don’t realize this but twists are also great for your back and can relieve back  pain.  For a basic twist, submerge your body, keeping your feet three feet apart.  Then stretch your hands out in front of you and move them slowly to one side, twisting your torso.  You can let your arms go all the way around the back or as far as possible.  Repeat on the other side.
  4. Side Stretch.  Submerge your body about halfway in water and spread your arms to the sides.  Then lean down on one side and grab your knee, calf or ankle, whichever you can reach.  This stretches the other side of your body.  Hold for a few seconds, release and switch to the other side.  It’s best to do about 8-10 reps on each side.

While you’re in the water, try to feel where your body needs the most stretching.  Where do you feel sore or stiff?  If you’re actually in pain, then go slow.  If you’re just stiff, then you can stretch as much as you want.  Contact us for more information about exercising in a pool.