In the Water, Weight Doesn't Matter

By , SparkPeople Blogger
An amazing thing happens when I get into a pool.  I feel light and giddy. I feel like playing and doing flips.  Silly me! I actually did one, even though it took me eight tries.  Yes, I failed seven times in public, but the feeling of the flip was so exhilarating and playful that it was worth every attempt. 
I love the feeling of the water and how it takes away the drag of gravity and is so renewing and freeing.
I grew up near Lake Michigan and spent a lot of time there swimming and enjoying the beach.  Then I moved to central Indiana, where people think any old puddle is a real lake.  To me, it isn’t a lake if you can see across it.  Still, I take what I can get. Most of the time that means I swim in a pool. 
It is also nice that pools have stairs and less debris for my feet to get tangled in, such as seaweed.  I do miss the great outdoors, the feeling of the lake breeze on my face, and the smooshing of sand between my toes.
Growing up, I just liked swimming.  I never knew what a favor I was doing myself by just having fun in the water.  Water provides resistance, like weights or bands.  It also provides a great cardio work out at the same time by getting your heart pumping and all of your parts moving.  Later in life I discovered water aerobics classes and love them to this day.  They do the same things, but in a more directed approach.
When you are in water at waist level, the impact of walking on your body is half of what it is on land. It is 1/10 as much when the water is up to your shoulder.

That extra buoyancy can help prevent injury and allows people with muscle or joint pain to reap exercise benefits without the stress of land-based workouts.  Water's buoyancy also makes it possible to move your body in ways not easy on land. That can help you boost your flexibility, especially if you have stiff or painful joints.  It’s what helped me do my flip.  There is no way I could have done that on land!
The resistance you feel in water allows you to work harder for a shorter period and reap the same aerobic and strength benefits you would on land.  Since the water is cool and stimulating, it keeps me going and the lack of strain and pain may encourage you to keep going longer, as it does me!

I like to play with water weights too.  They have foam weights that are barbell shaped that really give your muscles a workout.  Gloves with webbed fingers also increase resistance in the hands/arms.  They also make special ankle weights and shoes for the water to add resistance.
In water, I can do so much more with my body than I can on land--weight doesn't matter!  
What do you like about being in the water?

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I love water sports Report
SPUNOUTMOM 11/9/2017
I enjoy water running when training for a half marathon. I do water running 1-2 times per week when in serious training. It takes the impact off my joints and is kind of fun. Report
KHALIA2 11/1/2017
I love, love, love my water aerobic's class! Report
ROCKS8ROX 8/21/2017
Water exercise is so much fun! Report
I do deep water aqua jogging 5 days a week. I don't do the class because by the time it starts I've already gone home. I go to the local YMCA and along with other dedicated people, we are there before it opens at 5:30 in the morning. The water is gentle on my back and legs, which I have problems with. Report
I love the water and being in water but there is no way at my size I will expose my body for others to look at to get in a public pool to do water arobics. I do not wear even capris as it shows too much of my large calfs or sleeveless summer shirts as it exposes my large upper arms......I just can not emotionally handle that kind of vulnerability. Report
I enjoyed reading your story because mine is almost like yours, only I grew up in California and learned to swim at a very early age. I think I am a water baby. I started water aerobics a few months ago and I cannot begin to tell you the difference it has made in my health. I am a big girl and have a trainer once a week, but I swim 4 times a week. The strength training helps me in the pool. I have been recuperating from a broken hip and was out of commission for about two years, because shortly after the broken hip, my other leg got a torn groin muscle. I have been in a world of hurt and idle for so long. I thought that I would never be able to walk right again. But with the water aerobics and my trainer, my world has turned around. Thank you for your blog, it reminded me of how I used to be and it has inspired me to keep on keeping on. Report
When I got my membership at the local "Y," they threw in 6 mos with an exercise coach for free. After my first weigh in and talk, he recommended water aerobics. I was hooked after my first class. While in the water, I moved with so much ease that I doubted whether or not I was really getting a good workout. At the end of class, I felt the results as soon as I started coming up out of the water. No matter how much weight I lose, I will always do water aerobics. Report
I'm a fish!!! I'm not so much into a pool because that means "public", but I love the lake. We go to a place that not many people know about. You can see across it, but that just gives me a goal to swim to. :) Report
I loved your comment about being able to see across a "lake." I grew up on the shores of Lake Ontario (Oswego, NY) and feel the same way. I live in Florida now and LOVE going to water aerobics classes. I usually put in another hour before or after class walking across the pool in the shallow end, then jogging back in water up to my shoulders. I love being in the water too. Report
I love the lighter feeling I have when I'm in the water. I like the muted sounds in the water and the feeling of power as I streamline through the pool. Thank you for helping me remember how important swimming can be in my life! Report
Thank you so much for sharing. I love to be in the water too. Report
I haven't been in a public pool in more than a decade because of my embarrassment about my body. :x Maybe I can change that here. Report
I love the water! Lakes, Oceans, Pools -- doesn't matter -- I feel at home. I enjoy swimming laps and am going to try an aqua workout class at my gym (it has a beautiful saline pool :-) ) Report
You don't need to convince me that water is a great place to burn calories and gain strength - I started with water aerobics, and now half of myself later, I'm STILL playing in the water.

Except now it's in a little plastic kayak, surfing in river waves, and jumping over waterfalls. LOL Report
I like that it is easy on my joints and that I don't get all sweaty. Going at my own pace is a nice benefit also. I think it's fun! Report
I love the feeling of being completely wieghtless and free! Report
I love Water Aerobics. I picked my Gym especially because it had a pool and offered Water Classes. We do Aqua Jam Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday and Thursday its called Hydro Toning, where we get to play with Paddles, Barbells and Noodles. It is great fun. I miss it when I am on Vacation or if the Instructor takes a Vacation. Perhaps we should coordinate our Vacations? In our Pool they do not use Chlorine, but some kind of Salt. It still wrecks havoc with my Swimsuit. Report
I love the pool but find the chlorine tough on my hair and skin. I would love to hear some tips for dealing with pool chemicals. Report
I, too, really enjoy my water aerobics class. We wear floatation belts and are in deep water, so we have no impact (I don't need that, but it fit in my schedule, and now I love it so I can't imagine doing the shallow water) and I wear the gloves and the ankle and foot things (I'm the only one in the class with those) and get in a great workout three days a week. It's so much fun! Report
That is also my favorite way to workout and was my doctor's suggestion since I have been having hip problems. Report
The nice thing about water aerobics is anyone can do them. Size does not matter.
I started at 250, just because I was embarrassed about going when I weighted 333 lbs. Once I got past that, I became a 6 day a week water aerobics user. And water Zumba twice a week. Also jog in the pool, and swim laps.
Use ankle weights and different weighted dumbbells while working out. I have slimed down to 138 and increased my stamina and engery..
I consider the water workouts a big part in my over all physical training . Report
I used water aerobics to get in shape for a major reunion. I was BUFF. no pool around me and I have been looking! Report
I'm a huge advocate of using water as an exercise tool... whether one has limitations or can do laps! Me? I used to swim laps, dive, race and enjoy water volleyball. It doesn't matter what the ability level is: water is fun, makes a person feel GREAT! These days, I'm very limited due to disability issues. And it is a pool that is the key to my being able to exercise. My main exercise - the most important for me! - is doing 60-90 minutes of varied exercises in a hot pool (94-96 degrees) in a physical therapy office. That pool is what makes the difference in quality of life for me. The low-impact and heat make possible for me movements that I can't do out of the water! Doing these exercises strengthens my muscles so that I can do things out of the pool; when I have had to stop using the pool, my out-of-pool abilities immediately slipped. So even gentler forms of movement in a pool make a life quality difference; it's more noticeable when you have a physical problem, but it is true for everyone. We can do more IN the water...and that exercisemakes it possible to do more out of the water too!

My pt put an underwater treadmill in the pool, so I even do cardio in it! Because the pool lets me work my muscles, they are in good enough condition that I can do more when OUT of the water too! The pool combines with a daily regimen of stretching, exercises based on the pelvic tilt... to give me the ability to walk 'normally' and even do Wii Fit Plus exercises that would be impossible without the pool's help. Report
I do aqua aerobics 3-4 x a week. It is the best for me...What part of Michigan are you from? Hubby is from Kalamazoo. Report
I envy you & all those who can go in the water--I'm terrified of any water that comes past the middle of my calves--total panic attacks even if I try to take a bath. My sister has lost quite a bit by swimming/water exercise as well. Sounds like she has so much fun with her group. Report
Seems to me a bit judgemental to put down those people who do have lakes near them, but they are not as large as yours. Any body of water that will help someone get moving and in turn lose weight is something to be celebrated. Report
This is great! I love to swim and do water aerobics daily. I broke my ankle in 2004 and it has never been the same. the water aerobics is a true workout and can be more strenuous than aerobics on the floor. I love it. thanks for sharing!

Peace and Love,
devasinger Report
Ahhh. Lake Michigan. Grew up on the the real lake too. Revisited this summer. Lucky for me only moved about 45 mins away. Love swimming. Report
I was paralyzed falling off a fire engine on the job as the district Safety Officer and Captain and fire fighter! My injury level is the t-7 vertabrae, right at the base of my bra, and I have no feeling from there down. One of the first things rehab did was get me in a swimming pool. It felt amazing to take the weight off my arms and shoulders which now suffer from having to bear the stress of normal daily use of moving me around, and my source of exercise. The pool takes all the weight off and with the weightlessness I feel almost normal again!! I love my water workouts they are so much better than anything else. Report
We have an arthritis pool at the Y with warm water. I just love getting in it and playing in the water. Yes, I am actually playing doing all kind of silly things. I hate to get out. Report
I love the water and how it makes me feel...light. I have not been in a swimming pool since 2002 and that was with a PT. But soon I'm going. I love swimming and being in the water. And everything else you said about it. We ARE Weightless in the water! Thanks! Many blessings to You & Your Family! Report
I enjoy the warm water therapy pool at the rec center. I use the dumbbels, so some exercises at the side of the pool and mostly do freestyle swimming. I started there when I had a frozen shoulder and that shoulder is fine now. I am working on the other one, but it partly unfroze when we were doing aerobics in a pool. It keeps some of my joints looser. Report
I am starting water aerobics next week at the Y. I am so excited to go!!! I feel the same way as you. Report
Great blog! Water is soothing, strengthening, tolerant & welcoming. People of all ages, shapes, & sizes can benefit from exercising in water. Arthritis class, aerobics class & yoga class, all in the water, have enabled me to exercise in spite of chronic back pain. Report
I've been going to water aerobics for 8 yrs,and at 330lbs I was a happy fat girl in the water but from the beginning of spring to winter I naturally lost 38lbs from doing water aerobics.I can't begin to tell you how much meds and apparatuses and braces and things.Wow something but the water. Report
I love the water too, and do water aerobics. Our instructor's tell us that you actually are working 13 times harder in the water than doing the same thing on land! Fun, too! I have some water zumba classes (glad the water disguises my moves) and they are great fun and really active! Report
I did some water aerobics this past summer and loved it. I'm not sure how good of a workout I really go, but I enjoyed it! Report
I love the water, too! Report
I like being in the water too...but what keeps me going to any swimming classes is the shyness I would feel wearing a bathing suit...even if I would be wearing a modest suit. I took the first step in going and buying one, now I have to join a class :) Report
I LOVE the water. If I don't wet my gills regularly, I get cranky. I also have serious health issues and exercise is difficult for me - except in the water. There I am healthy and carefree. I walk, I float, I dance! Report
Love the water too, could be in it 24/7, but living in Canada I only get to use my lake 4 months a year :( Report
I agree with you about the feeling of being in the water! I've never done any type of water exercise class (yet!) but would love to in the future. Right now I try to remember to incorporate just swimming laps or having fun whenever I can. What I love about being in the water is the immediate and immense relaxation & comfort I get.... I feel as if I am "home" whenever I am in water, whether it's the pool, a lake, the ocean, or even a shower/bath! My body & muscles are instantly calm, my mind quiets, & I get such a rush of energy & alertness. I can get away from reality & the world, find myself & just breathe. Report
We scuba dive - I like to pretend I'm a mermaid and move only by doing a dolphin kick - really works the whole body! Report
I agree with EVERYTHING YOU STATED! I, am 61 yrs old, and go the the pool for "senior swim" twice a week, this is the time alotted using a punch pass, thus a little easier on the pocketbook. I have PURCHASED HAND HELD WEIGHTS that work excellent! The company is HYDRO-TONE FITNESS, they have a website, where you can see each item and order directly! I love the weights, and brouchures, videos etc are available, as well as other types of items. CHECK IT OUT! Report
I just started going to aqua class this past week; I wanted a workout that would not hurt my arthritic neck.
It is really a good workout, feels good, something different. My muscles did check in with me the next day, yeah! The hot tub is my after class indulgence... Report
My favorite water activity? The Water Zumba classes my local YMCA offers. Great workout and loads of FUN! Report
What do I like about beng in water? EVERYTHING! It is my favorite way to exercise. In fact, even though my budget is extremely rigid, I find a way to pay for the monthly dues for the YMCA - just so I can swim in winter. Swimming has brought mobility back to my life. Report
Thanks Beth. Moving in water is poetic, isn't it? I felt lost when I was to told to stop swimming until after surgery for a shoulder impingement. But I recently discovered I can still do water jogging. What a joy - not just water, but also running again after almost 40 years. I'll think of you swimming free in your lake when I'm trotting up and down! :-)
I'm really glad you picked this topic. swimming & other aquatic exercise is so good for all of us but especially for we with weight &/or health issues, plus so much fun,and can be a real social occasion, too. Yet many of us miss this opportunity, whether out of embarrassment, mistakenly thinking we can't exercise, or not knowing about our local aquatic resources. I swim daily in summer, 2ce weekly in winter. I had to search for a winter pool, and found one at our local college in a neighboring town, open to public over noon hour 2ce a week. The 25 mile commute is worth it to me for exercise that doesn't stress my RA damaged knees and ankles. I encourage my fellow sufferers on the RA and autoimmune Spark teams to join me in the water, but many still resist the suggestion. I do hope they listen to you. You put things so well - and look great! Please keep writing! Report
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