When I weighed over 300 lbs, I didn’t want to swim.
Not because I didn’t know how, I used to be on a swim team.
Not because it wasn’t good exercise, it is.
But because I was embarrassed.
Thankfully, I changed my mind. Working out in an exercise pool became a wonderful and soothing part of my weekly regime and helped me to lose over 120 lbs. I’m sure there are many overweight people like me who do not want to be seen in a bathing suit or take the long walk (regardless of actual length) from the locker room to the swimming pool. I’m here to tell you that it’s worth it. The truth is that people will look at you as you move around the gym. Some may even be critical. But they are only critical because they are trying to make themselves feel better about their own bodies.
And the benefits of working out in water, especially if you are obese or infirm, are enormous.
Take Off the Pressure – The support and buoyancy of the water helps to support your body, taking the pressure off of muscles, bones and joints. Water will support up to 80% of your weight seriously reducing strain.
Cardiovascular Conditioning – Your heart rate will stay in the fat burning zone longer. Every cardio machine shows you that optimal fat burning zone. Exercising in the water often leads to prolonged exercise in that target zone, which improves your fat burning potential and your cardiovascular fitness.
Keep Cool – I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of feeling hot and sticky. Especially in the summer time. Exercising in water is a great way to get in your exercise and keep cool. Just getting into a pool on a hot, muggy day can be a great motivator.
Resistance Training – Working out in water increases the resistance of each move. That dragging feeling you get when you walk in water? That is increased resistance! This will help you build up your strength and work on your balance.
There are many different ways in which you can enjoy working out in water, either by yourself or with others. If your local gym or recreation center has a pool, they may offer water aerobics or dance if you would like to work out with others. These same pools are generally blocked off for parts of the day for swimming and exercise. There are even places where you can walk on an underwater treadmill !
Particularly when trying to lose weight, working out in water is something that should be included in your weekly regimen. Forget about your embarrassment and others around you. You are doing something to change your life! Be proud of that and hold on to anything that helps to get you to your goals.
Genevieve has successfully lost over 120 lbs and kept them off for 2 years. She now works in affiliation with Hydroworx, which creates aquatic therapy equipment for rehabilitation and athletic conditioning.
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