With the monsoon in full flow, water would perhaps be the last thing most of us would want to be dipped in. But if you are suffering from weak joints, or find working out in a gym too taxing for your bones; water exercises might just be what the doctor ordered. Usually performed under the watch of a trained expert, water exercises are gaining popularity among those with weak joints including Arthritis patients and those who went through knee or hip replacement surgery. “One of the benefits of water exercises is that you could work out longer than you would in a regular gym. And the intensity is much higher than in air (a usual gym atmosphere),” says Deepali Jain, aqua specialist, who conducts individual programmes at various clubs in the city. She also conducts workouts at home.
Faster, quicker, better
Water exercises started initially as a branch of physiotherapy to rehabilitate patients with knee, back and hip injuries. But with time, they gained popularity outside patient rehabilitation programmes. Jain says that unlike regular gym workouts, where you have to work separately on each and every body part, water exercises works on all body parts, depending on the level of submergence. “Unlike in air, where the gravitational pull is at play, in water, it’s the buoyant force that is constantly massaging your body. So, whatever exercise you may perform, your other body parts would be simultaneously getting worked at as well,” she adds.
Jain claims that one burns between 700 and 800 calories in a one-hour session of water exercises. “And, you don’t need to know how to swim to do it,” she says, adding, “Water is known to refresh our minds, and with water exercises, its effectiveness increases. It helps you de-stress as well as sleep better. It’s also proven useful in improving blood circulation.”
Water exercises require special type of equipment. “There are around 20 different equipment used to perform water exercises including specially made dumbles and noodle, a floating equipment, which is used to guide one’s movement in water,” says Jain.
Fitness head Dr A Arun Kumar, Snap Fitness India, says that in certain countries water exercises have improved to the level that they are offering fully submerged programmes as well. “You can do everything, from boxing and weight lifting to running on a treadmill, all under water," he adds. The effectiveness of water exercises can also be improved with the addition of minerals and salts, a technique, which is quite common used in hydro massage and in spas.
So, how does it work?
Well, when you enter a water body like a pool, you displace a certain amount of water. Now according to the Archimedes’ Principle, your final weight in water reduces by the amount of water you displace. This means that you weigh less in water, and therefore there’s less pressure on your bones. “...Which means that people with weak knee joints, or those suffering from Arthritis can stay inside water longer than they would in air,” says Dr Kumar.
…But water can be ruthless
You may weigh less in water, but that doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want. Both Jain and Kumar believe that water exercises should always be performed under the supervision of trained experts. “If your movement is not right, it can rip your joints apart. Water exercises are very specific, and has to be done under the supervision of a trained expert,” warns Jain. But having said that, she is quick to add that there are a few exercises like jogging or walking inside a pool that people could do on their own. Kumar believes, “If not always, water exercises should be conducted under supervision, at least in the beginning.”
It was Archimedes!
Whether or not you paid attention in your Maths and Science classes back at school, we are sure most of you would know about the Greek philosopher who ran naked in the streets of Syracuse yelling "Eureka! Eureka!" Well, the same genius discovered the Archimedes Principle, which forms the basis for water exercises.
Water workout rules
>> Do not spend more than an hour in any water workout. You may feel light in water, but once your body is out in the air, the weight of the body would be back, which could be very tiring.
>> Keep yourself hydrated at all times. It’s a myth that you don’t sweat under water. Lack of fluids may lead to dehydration and headache.
>> Anybody suffering from epilepsy, skin diseases or urinary tract infection should not go into water unless cleared by a medical expert.
>> If it’s an outdoor swimming pool, always use good quality sunscreen.
Where to sign up >>
Wellington Gymkhana Club, Mahalaxmi (only for members);
Breach Candy Club, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Cumballa Hill. CALL 23641980 (only for members)
Special classes also at: Body Rhythm, 12 A, Advent General Bhosle Marg, next to YB Chavan Pratishtan, Nariman Point.
Deepali Jain: 9820094323