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Why you should be Water Walking and how to do it!

The article touches upon the issue of Why you should be Water Walking and how to do it!

Why you should be Water Walking and how to do it

Why Water Walk?

Water walking is a great way to keep active and has the benefit of being suitable for those recovering from injury or childbirth, with joint or mobility issues and for reducing the challenges associated with exercising when carrying excess weight.  It’s also a great exercise to do if you are pregnant.  If you do have any health issues or conditions make sure you ask your medical practitioner if water walking is suitable for you and once you have the all clear jump in and take control of your fitness.

Although water walking is suitable for those with health issues don’t be fooled, water walking is a great way for healthy individuals too and increases muscle tone, co-ordination and balance!  Water walking is a resistance based exercise and the more you put in the more you’ll get out – so if it sounds too easy then simply pump up the volume and you’ll start to feel it working!

Most populated areas have good local pools which are heated and well resourced for water walkers.  You’ll find the equipment you need and a water walking lane in most pools and some even run aqua aerobics classes for those who’d like to take it a step further.

Getting Started

Start by walking up and down the pool.  If you can touch the bottom for the lenght of the pool then you won’t need any floatation equipment.  Take long strides and move your arms in time as if you are power walking to help keep balance and introduce upper body toning.  Use your hands to pull the water past on you each side as they alternate with your legs.  The harder you pull the more of a workout you will get.  To go faster speed up the tempo with your arms and your legs will naturally follow.  Remember to retain good posture.  You should not be leaning forward or reclining backward.  Draw your belly button towards your spine to activate your core muscles.

Mix it up

Vary your steps.  After a few laps try walking sideways.  Turn to your left and use your right leg to step down the pool.  Take a large step with your right foot then bring your left foot to meet it in a standing position.  Use only your right arm to pull the water towards you as you walk – put your left hand on your hip as you go.  Again the faster you move your arm the faster you will go and the tougher the workout will be.  Once you have completed a length stay facing the same direction and go back in the other direction using your left leg and arm to move back to the starting point.

Increase the Intensity

Intensify the workout by varying your arms.  Try water walking with both arms above your head.  Rest them on your head or link your fingers above your head.  Not only will this make your legs work harder by removing the assistance your hands provide but it will tone your arm muscles as you hold them above your head and improve your balance and core strength as your body works to remain upright.

Alternatively push your arms well under the water or crouch in the pool to increase the workout for your thighs and upper body.  Push and pull the water with your arms.  The more energy you put into moving in the water the more of a workout you’ll get.

Throw yourself in the Deep End!

Try deep water walking.  The wonderful thing about deep water walking is that your body needs to remain balanced all the time and this provides a gentle yet effective core muscle workout.  Being off the ground also means that you’ll get a break from carrying around your weight which is ideal if you are pregnant, recovering from an injury or suffer from obesity.

To walk in deep water you’ll need a floatation device.  Most pools will be able to provide you with a water walking belt which you buckle around your waist.  If you are pregnant or don’t have access to a belt then simply use a ‘pool noodle’ and straddle it as if you were riding a horse – this is just as effective.

The key to deep water walking is to pretend you are sitting in a kitchen chair.  Your back should be upright and straight – don’t lean forward or recline backward.  Your legs are in front of you bent at 90 degrees, to move forward cycle your legs in front of you as if you are riding a bike.  Scull your arms to the side to help propel you forward.  This takes some practice but really works your legs and core muscles and will get your heart rate up so keep trying and it will soon click.

You can move backward in deep water in a similar way – simply cycle your legs backward and give a little flick with your ankles as you go.  Move your hands from your sides and slightly behind you to the front and together to help propel you backward.

Try moving sideways – like water walking on the ground you use just one arm and leg for this – to move to your left scoop the water with your left leg and left arm toward your body.  This will create a rocking movement as you move through the water.

Get out there, jump in that pool and try it out!

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