If your workout routine is getting a little ho-hum, I’d like to tell you about an amazing water workout I tried recently. It will not only energize you, slim you, tone your entire body, make your heart work more efficiently, help your bones and joints, but it also helps you stay younger looking. It’s just what the doctor ordered for efficient exercise…
No More Excuses! Water Biking Helps You Exercise
Many of my patients are in their 60’s and beyond. Like you, they know they need to exercise to stay in shape and keep their heart and the rest of them healthy. But many of them have sore joints, nagging back aches, or foot and ankle problems that can be aggravated by traditional “land-based” exercise like running, walking or bicycling. They do what they can, despite their discomfort and I give them a lot of credit.
But another group of my patients are just not putting in enough regular effort with their exercise. They’re bored and/or feel like they’re not making much progress with their chosen routine. Both groups are missing out on the best health benefits of regular workouts.
Sound like you?
If so, I’d like to tell you about immersible ergocycling, or “water biking”. I’m convinced it can be a remedy to both reasons why you may not be exercising as much as you should. I hope you’ll become as fired up about it as I am.
Why Is Water Exercise So Beneficial?
If you’ve ever tried “aquacise” – exercise done in water – you know that you can do some pretty amazing movements with incredible fitness results in water that you’re often not able to do on land. Here’s why…
- Buoyancy. Water supports your body like a big cushion and takes the weight-bearing pressure off joints, lower back, etc. It’s the reason why people who are very obese, or those with prior injuries, can exercise safely and effectively. In water, you can run in place in deep water with an aqua belt, walk on “the resistance river”, swim like a fish, and perform many aerobic exercises comfortably without strain.
- Resistance. Every time you move in water, you’re pushing against it and it’s pushing back because it’s a constantly moving force. Because of this you’re always burning calories.
- Massage. Because you’re immersed in water and moving against it, water also provides whole body massage with every movement. It’s the reason swimmers and other aquatic exercisers feel so relaxed, loose and sleep better when they get out of the water.
Now water exercise has gotten more sophisticated than just doing pool aerobics and swimming. Exercise equipment designers have found a way to create fully water-immersible versions of the same exercise equipment you use at the gym like bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, and even trampolines.
Using this equipment in water allows you to reap the benefits of those types of exercise with water acting as a shock absorber. The result is, no painful impact on joints, backs, feet, and no more excuses to exercise because of pain or discomfort.
For this reason, YMCA’s across the country, as well as other private “aqua gyms” are featuring these new water-works fitness equipment in specialized classes. They’re fast becoming the most popular classes amongst over-50 people who are literally lining up to take them. And you don’t have to know how to swim to do them either.
Water Biking: An All-Around Anti-Aging Workout
Recently, I tried one of these immersed equipment fitness classes in the form of water-biking. I just had to share with you what an incredible experience it was. Living in Florida as I do, I found a few fitness centers that feature water biking classes.
So, what do you do in a water biking class? Well, basically, you ride a special hydraulic bicycle created just for water use. It sits beneath the water, resting firmly on the pool floor. You get on it and you’re submerged in water to about mid-chest, low shoulders level. You can wear special pool shoes if you want, but you can also pedal barefoot.
You start with a basic pedaling warm-up to energizing music doing underwater arm exercises and stretching. Then, you go through 4 different cycle positions, the first one starting off slower and the last one faster and more intense. The faster you go, the more resistance you create, the more your heart and muscles work. But, because of the constant massaging of your muscles by the water, you don’t really feel the intensity of the workout like you do with “dry” exercise.
A major perk of water biking is that, depending on how fast you pedal, you can burn up to 800 calories in a 45 minute session! Even more moderate paced pedaling torches off between 500-600 calories. So, if your goal is also to lose weight, water biking is a winner.
Here are some other anti-aging perks of water-biking and other water-based exercise:
- Bone and joint strengthening. Because of constant resistance with water, your bones are also stimulated to grow and become stronger. The cushioning effect of the water helps your joints stay flexible without pain.
- Heart function boosting. A recent study out of the Montreal Heart Institute found that water biking makes the heart work more efficiently. Unlike bicycling, running, on land or a treadmill, your heart rate actually lowers about 10-15 beats with water biking. Yet, it’s pumping more blood out with each beat. The pressure of the water against your leg muscles helps blood return to your heart faster, so your heart doesn’t need to beat as fast. It also helps reduce blood pressure.
- Skin smoothing. If you swim, or aquacise, frequently your body’s fat composition will change slightly. You’ll begin to get a little more fat deposition right beneath your skin in its upper layers. This is nature’s way of helping you retain body heat as well as become even more buoyant in the water. The cosmetic perk is that little bit of extra fat smoothes out skin and gives it a suppler, younger look. Be sure to drink enough water after exercising in a chlorinated pool to avoid skin “puckering” and to replace fluids.
- Muscle toning, strengthening. As you get older, you need to keep your muscles strong and flexible to keep good posture and prevent balance and fall issues. Water biking strengthens your back as well as all your leg muscles. Another perk is that there’s less lactic acid produced in muscles from water biking so there’s far less soreness.
- Reduces stress levels. Doing any type of water exercise helps relieve stress. It releases tension from your muscles and helps you sleep better as well.
If you think you’d like to try a water-biking class, there may be a “Y”, or other fitness center, near you that features them. Do an online search under aqua cycling, or aqua spinning, classes in your area. I’m very impressed with water biking as it’s an incredibly efficient all-in-one, aerobic/resistance, whole body exercise that can really save you a lot of time. But, one of the best perks of water biking is that it’s a whole lot of fun. Grab your spouse, or a couple of friends, and have a blast!
Water based exercise bicycle workouts as good as land based stationary, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121030062357.htm
Health Benefits of Aqua Spinning and Aqua Cycling, http://aqua-fitness.ca/en/aquafit-en/benefits-of-aqua-spinning/