In my post about swimming as a low impact, full body workout alternative to walking or running, I talked about the wonderful cardiovascular exercise for lowering blood pressure naturally.
In fact, I talked to a friend just the other day about these benefits of swimming, and she had some great questions:
“What if I don’t want to get my face wet?”
“What if I’m not a great swimmer?”
“What if I like the idea of swimming being easier on my joints, but I’m not a big fan of swimming?”
These are great questions! I wanted to talk about some ways you can still enjoy the benefits of water exercise if you’re not interested in a traditional pool swim.
Alternatives to Traditional Swimming:
Walking in the Water: Yes! It’s exactly what it sounds like! You can actually just walk back and forth in the water to still get the benefits of the water supporting your body and minimizing joint pains that can come with running or walking. Keep in mind, you’ll probably need to figure out a good time at your local community pool to do so and communicate with anyone sharing a lane with you. This is probably obvious but walking in the shallow half of the pool with your head above water works best. You can walk forward in big steps, small steps, and even sideways! Remember to stand up with good posture, take your time, and listen to your body. If a certain motion is adding discomfort, you may want to back off a little in terms of how long you are walking or how fast you are walking.
Take a Water Aerobics Class: If you don’t know how to start doing exercises in the pool, a unique way to start is calling up your community pool or local gym to see if they offer water aerobics classes! It can often be a lot safer when there is an instructor watching and teaching you how to move in the water. A class format allows you to have the space you need in a pool to move around in a non traditional swimming way without worrying about getting in the way of other swimmers. It’s also fun to have the socialization of others participating as well! Also, the benefit of taking a class is that it will commit you to a schedule of exercising. Meeting other people with health goals can also create accountability buddies for healthy lifestyles! In addition, classes may also include the ability to use water aerobic equipment such as foam dumbbells. How fun!
When it comes to adding more physical activity to work on lowering blood pressure naturally, I personally think it’s super helpful if it’s an exercise that is enjoyable for you. Is it hard work to get active? Absolutely! Is it difficult to stick to a program of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least 3 to 5 days a week? Yes! We all have other commitments, and I want to applaud you for taking some steps in a heart healthy direction; in a way that makes sense to you!
Do you enjoy swimming? If not, have you tried water aerobics before? Would love to hear about your experience!
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Feature photo courtesy of Unsplash
Categories: Exercise and Physical Activity