With the weather finally heating up it’s a good time to start diving into some exercise. Water based exercise combines both cardiovascular and resistance (strength) training for all fitness levels. Whether you are a seasoned swimmer or prefer strolling in the shallow end, the dynamic nature of water gives your muscles a challenge. There are many different types of exercises, benefits and considerations of water based exercise and if you have considered getting involved, then it may be time now to get your feet wet!
Water based exercise can involve many different activities such as;
Rowing/ Canoeing/ Kayaking
Surfing/ Paddle boarding
Water Sports, such as Water Polo
And many more…
What are the benefits of water based exercise?
It’s great for your heart: Your heart is a muscle and it needs to be exercised. Water pressure promotes circulation and can improve your general fitness and health. Aerobic exercise such as swimming completed for 300 minutes a week can reduce your risk of developing a chronic health condition and can lead to improved overall health for people living with diabetes. The intensity of your work-out can depend on the speed, type of movement, depth and force of the water.
Low impact strength training: Water strengthens your body through physical effort. Exercising in water puts less loading on joints because you are in a floating environment and can assist you in supporting your body weight. If you have joint pain, exercising in water is generally much easier and can still give you a good work out. Water adds resistance to movements as water constantly moves. Our joints are then exposed to positions and directions it may not be used to, improving flexibility.
Improves your balance: As water is a dynamic environment, it requires your body to work hard in order to stay still. The pool is a good environment to test your balance as there is more control than on land, as water in thicker than air. This makes balance training very adaptable.
Mental Health: There is a meditative property about water. Being in water can refresh and relax your mind and can be good for your mental health. Exercising can improve sleep quality, reduce stress and anxiety and improve your mood.
Water exercise is often a chance for social activity: Whether it’s going to the beach with your family, paddling at the pool, or meeting new friends at a group class, water tends to be a social hub for people. Individuals who are open to the possibility of socialising tend to have greater overall wellbeing.
What should else should I consider?
Some other points to consider include:
If you take blood glucose lowering medications that can cause hypoglycaemia (blood glucose below 4.0mmol/L) such as sulphonylureas or insulin, checking your blood glucose levels before and after exercise and carrying extra carbohydrate foods can help prevent blood glucose levels going too low. Speak with your healthcare team if you have any pre-existing medical conditions before you make a splash.
About getting feet wet… if you have a wound speak with your healthcare team about how you can get involved in a way that is safest for you.
Make sure you continue to drink water whilst exercising.
Louisa’s Top 3 Exercise Tips
Focus on what you can gain through physical activity like strength or sleep quality, rather than what you may need to lose, like weight.
Sometimes you find motivation and sometimes motivation finds you, the trick is to get started!
Involve your healthcare team. If you are unsure where to start when it comes to an exercise program, you may consider seeing an accredited exercise physiologist (AEP). Exercise Physiologists are university qualified allied health professionals that have the knowledge and skills to design, deliver and support safe and effective exercises for people living with chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities. They are well placed to help you as a part of your diabetes care team.