Memorial Day is just around the corner so you know what that means—the traditional start to pool season! Stay refreshed and fit in the water this summer and cannonball into a new exercise routine!
Water aerobics is an excellent workout and offers numerous health benefits for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Just like swimming, it improves muscular endurance, and fitness. The added resistance of the water on the muscles increases the rate of calorie burn which aids in weight loss.
This low-impact aerobic exercise is less stress on your joints, bones, and muscles than most land-based aerobic exercises such as running. Being in the water makes it easier to lift and move different parts of your body which increases your range of motion and flexibility. Also, the water pressure cushions your submerged body parts which helps decrease swelling around the joints.
It’s a safe and effective routine for people of all ages and sizes because it easily accommodates each individual’s needs, restrictions, and abilities. You can add difficulty to your routine by adjusting the size and speed of your movements, adding weights or aquatic gloves, or working in deeper water.
Even people who can’t swim can benefit from water aerobics by finding something to hold onto. There are a variety of flotation devices available that will not interfere with workouts such as noodles and kick boards. You can also work out in shallow water if you don’t feel comfortable in the deep end. (But if you can’t swim, make sure you don’t work out in the water by yourself. Have someone who can swim with you.)
In order to build strength you must work your muscles against the water pressure so the deeper you go, the more pressure will be exerted, and the harder the workout will be.
Water aerobic exercise works both the upper and lower parts of the body. Nearly any land-based aerobic exercise can be performed in the water. Running, walking, and dancing are some basic moves that can be done.
The upper body exercises often include the use of webbed gloves or specially designed water weights. These tools increase resistance of the movements requiring your muscles to work that much harder.
Most upper body routines include shoulder presses, tricep pushes, and bicep curls with a pair of water weights.
Jumping jacks in the water is a popular low-intensity cardio workout and less jarring than those done on land. They raise your heart rate and build stamina while working the arms and outer thighs.
Water aerobic activities for the lower body builds lower back and leg strength, and improves balance and flexibility. Underwater leg lifts are one of the most common lower body movements and build muscle in the front of the thigh, while water squats work the inner thighs.
Check with your doctor before starting water aerobics or any exercise routine. If you do decide to take a water aerobics class it’s essential to let your instructor know you have diabetes.
Don’t forget to hydrate with water before, during (if necessary), and after class. Since you don’t heat up the same way during a water aerobics workout as you do in workouts on land, it’s easy to underestimate the level of dehydration. You are also already wet, so you might not feel yourself sweating. Be sure to also check your blood glucose before and after the session and maintain blood glucose at safe level.