The Wellness Corner

Many in the field of wellness have asked me for advice on getting in better cardiovascular shape, becoming more flexible, and increasing strength. Their next question is almost always, “and what’s the easiest, quickest way.”
First, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room and dispel the myth that is force fed to us through commercials and fad diets; THERE IS NO QUICK WAY TO GET IN SHAPE. Anything worthwhile takes real effort and honest effort.
Getting fit is no exception. It is going to take time. The sooner you can acknowledge that and be patient, the sooner you will be on your way to getting fit.
Second, a large part of getting into better fitness is diet. Eat better and you will live better. I could go off about this for pages but let us keep things simple. Last, let us tackle that question of “What is the easiest way to get fit?”. There is no real “easy” way but there are methods that are less stressful on the body.
One of those methods is aquatic exercise or “pool workouts.” IWater creates buoyancy which makes the body lighter, aka we float. Even if you are muscle bound and do not float well your body is still much lighter in water. This in turn can reduce stress on joints and the spine. Simple monotonous walking or running laps in shallow water can be very beneficial.
Water also creates resistance. Not just any resistance but resistance from all angles. Water is constantly pushing, pulling and moving around your body in a pool or aquatic environment. This causes small “stabilizer” muscles to fire more often increasing core strength, posture and balance outside of the water. All forms of training are “resistant” and depending on what you do resistance is increased or decreased. The properties of water offer more consistent resistance but also offer an environment where resistance is less likely to cause injury. Aquatic environments also promote healing and compression properties. The force of the water around you offers “compression” which encourages ‘blood circulation’ which promotes healing. Due to the usually cool temperature of a pool the muscles are able to rehabilitate faster.
Often, injured professional and collegiate athletes will use water therapy and pool workouts to keep in top fitness while also promoting recovery. Many runners use the pool as a recovery method. Swimming has been shown through various studies to be one of the top physically demanding activities one can engage in. The demand of using the whole body while swimming increases calorie burning while promoting mobility (flexibility).
Finally swimming has been shown to increase VO2 max (the amount of oxygen a person can use) in young children, thus increasing their aerobic fitness and increasing their ability to perform in an endurance environment. There are no shortcuts to a healthy happy life. Take it head on but take it knowing there are many fun and beneficial things you can do. Water is calming and therapeutic and most of all it is 100 percent beneficial.
Live Well.

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