Benefits of Working Out in the Water
The Victorians had the perfect answer for people who were loathe to reveal themselves in a swimsuit: mobile changing huts that could be wheeled down to the water’s edge, from where a quick entry would prevent onlookers seeing more than they should courtesy of modesty screens.
Sadly, these ‘bathing machines’ are unlikely to form part of the facilities at municipal baths and private sports clubs in the 21st century. This is something of a shame. Why? Because many would-be fitness devotees don’t use pool facilities for the express reason that they find the idea of strangers seeing the results of their lack of activity too horrifying to contemplate. This, in turn, means they are missing out on what is the safest environment in which to tone up and lose those excess pounds.
Toning up and losing weight isn’t all about ploughing up and down the pool, either. Of course, swimming provides a fantastic cardiovascular workout, and the rhythmic use of both upper- and lower-body is superb in promoting better muscular efficiency and stronger joints. But there is so much more to this exercise waterworld than completing 20 lengths or more.
The ambient water temperature and the support that it offers to the body makes for an invisible wet suit that provides protection from injury while at the same time offering resistance that can help you tone up safely and effectively.
Safeguard Your ModestyLet’s assume you have overcome your self-consciousness; even opted for the more obvious step of taking the shortest possible time between changing room door and the security of the five feet of water that instantly safeguard your modesty. What are the types of class that are available?
Well, they can involve repetitions designed to tone up the upper arms, using the resistance of the water against the movement of the limbs to make the biceps and triceps work; using rhythmic marching movements to get those thighs and calves on the move; or standing with arms on the side of the pool and pushing your legs straight up in front of you to work the abdominals and promote core strength. Class teachers may introduce training aids such as dumb-bells and woggles (foam sticks) to add an extra dimension to routines.
Warmth and SupportAs well as providing warmth and support, the gentle massaging of the body by the water can promote a feeling of calm. So not only are you benefiting from the physical aspects of the workout, but the mind is experiencing reduced stress levels.
It is likely that details of classes will be provided under the heading of aqua aerobics in the pool or sports club’s literature. If water-based exercises are not currently part of your regular workout routine, give them a try – you may find they are more holistic than the current gym-based programme you are following.
For those yet to embark on a programme, unfortunately ‘bathing machines’ are only to be found in museums these days. So you are going to have to pluck up the courage to take the plunge. Better to sacrifice a little modesty than wallow in self-loathing every time you look in the mirror.