Discover the Fun of Water Fitness

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Channel your inner child

Health Nut — By Kelly Turner

Photo at right: Many community pools offer group aqua aerobic classes that are both challenging and fun.

Funny how things we loved as children instantly become torturous as adults. Why? Because adults hate fun and we sabotage it anytime we can.

I remember I used to run and play as a kid until I made myself physically ill. My mom would see me beet red and dripping sweat and make me sit down. I used to babysit a kid who routinely jumped on the trampoline until he puked. Pretty sure he even bounced a few times afterward while my back was turned to get the hose.

At a certain point, when we put away our childish things, we trade running through the fresh grass until our toes turn green for running on a machine, in place, facing a wall and then complain about it being boring. Of course that’s boring. I almost fell asleep just writing about it.

We could all benefit from finding the fun in fitness again and the quickest way is to find what activity made you happy when you were younger and rediscover it as an adult. If you loved to swim as child—either competitively or just to splash around—the pool is the perfect place to start.

Double your results

Swimming is a unique workout in that it has nearly equal the benefits of cardiovascular training and full body resistance training. By combining the two, you can cut your workout in half (or double your results, depending on how you look at it.)

Those who suffer from hip, knee or ankle pain can greatly benefit from swimming as exercise, as the water provides a “wind beneath your wings” effect that eliminates impact on the body, and prevents joint pain that would occur when exercising on land.

Simply moving your workout to the water can quiet joint pain and allow you to build strength without fear of further injuring yourself.

Another benefit is that the repetitive motion of swimming can be quite a relaxing experience. Gliding through the water clears and calms the mind—making it a sort of active meditation—and the cooling effect of the water will have you forgetting you’re working up a sweat.

Just keep swimming

The key to using swimming as exercise is to just keep swimming.

The longer you stay moving, the more calories you’ll burn and the more fun you’ll have. Do endless laps sound like torture? Many community and gym pools offer group aqua aerobics classes that are both challenging and fun.

Either way, get in the water, splash around and learn to love your swim workouts again.

Kelly Turner is a Seattle-based ACE certified personal trainer and fitness writer. You can contact her at KellyTurnerFitness@gmail.com Twitter: @KellyTurnerFit; Instagram: KellyTurner26. Miss a column? Log onto www.OutdoorsNW.com and search Health Nut.

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