For a change of pace exercise, try a water workout

Monday, October 9, 2000

If you're bored with your usual exercise routine, try a water workout - it may be just the ticket. It provides a whole new routine in a novel environment.

Here are the other advantages of working out in water:

* With most of your body submerged, you'll stay cool throughout the entire workout and feel refreshed and invigorated afterward.

* Nearly everyone has access to water. Take advantage of pools at your community centers and YMCAs or at your health club if you're a member.

* You can socialize with others and/or watch your children (or grandchildren) play while you exercise.

* When you travel, a workout in the hotel's pool is convenient and fun. Or try a municipal pool in the area you're visiting. You'll meet local people and get a better insight into their lives.

* Water exercise is easy on the joints. That's a significant advantage if you've got a lot of weight to lose, or if you're coping with a condition like arthritis. As with any new exercise program, it's best to check first with your doctor.

* Many Y's and health clubs have special water workouts geared to people with weight problems or physical disabilities. Such a class could help you feel more comfortable about being seen in a bathing suit if you're just starting a fitness program.

* Water provides resistance, which makes every movement much more effective than when you're simply moving against air.

* Little equipment is needed, just a body of water and your swimsuit, along with a bathing cap if you prefer. Many pools also loan kickboards or floats that let you vary your workout method.

* Another variation is provided by special workout vests that keep you floating as you "run" in the water. Many elite athletes use water running as an alternative training method, especially when injured, so you're in good company if you wear a vest.

* Water workouts can continue year-round. During the cooler months, an indoor pool provides a nice contrast to the chilly, dry surroundings most of us face in homes and offices. And in the summer, you can switch to an outdoor pool for greater variety.

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