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Take to the Water for Exercise

You’re not all wet if you like to exercise in the water. Swimming uses all your major muscles, builds strength and endurance, and increases flexibility. Because you have to work against the water’s resistance, you also can get an excellent aerobic workout.

At the same time, water holds up your body. This takes stress off bones and joints and decreases the risk for injury. Water’s gentle support makes it a particularly good exercise environment for:

  • Pregnant women

  • Anyone who is overweight or obese

  • Individuals with arthritis

  • People with diabetes

  • Anyone with low back pain—focus on backstroke, freestyle, and breaststroke

The only downside to water workouts: They won’t strengthen your bones as much as strength exercises or weight-bearing activities, such as walking or climbing stairs.

To bring variety to your water workouts, try these strategies:

  • Switch up your swimming routine by alternating laps of freestyle with laps of breaststroke, sidestroke, or backstroke.

  • Use kick boards, hand paddles, and buoyant barbells.

  • Sign up for a water aerobics class.

  • Briskly walk or run in the water.

 

 

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