If wear and tear on the body is a major issue, water aerobics is a popular way to exercise safely. But, that’s not the only healthy thing that can be done in water. A new study focused on the use of an exercise bike in a pool, and found that it has the same effect on your health as using an exercise bike on land. For many older adults, findings like this are important, as health conditions make land exercise trying for the joints.
This health breakthrough focused on an “immersible ergocycle,” or an underwater bike. Researchers found that there is equal aerobic fitness in cycling underwater to doing it above the surface, on the land. For people who are overweight, suffer from arthritis, or have joint problems and injuries, underwater cycling can offer the benefits of cycling without as much stress on the body.
Many people may be under the assumption that exercising in a swimming pool isn’t as valuable for your body as putting it through the rigors of a land workout. Water resists your body when you move, so you might interpret that as being a light exercise, because you simply can’t work as hard. But, a new study says this is not true at all.
The study had people undergo exercise tests on both land and water cycling machines (in water chest-high). They increased the intensity minute by minute until exhaustion. The maximum oxygen consumption indicates a good workout, and it was nearly the same among the two styles. Cardiac specialists believe that exercising while immersed in water could even be more efficient for aerobic fitness.
They also found that cycling in water led to a lower heart rate. The pressure of the water on the legs and lower body makes the blood return more effectively to the heart—a finding that hasn’t been well documented.
Swimming itself is the best exercise, period; but some people can’t swim, or can’t do it well or for long enough. So, get moving in whatever way you can (there are underwater cycle classes) to reduce stress on the body, decrease injury risk, and deliver a solid workout.
The vast majority of adults do not achieve the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week (beyond simple walking). If you are inactive and start exercising, studies have shown that you can reduce your risk of a heart attack by up to 55%.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Underwater Cycling Has Its Own Benefits
“Everyone in the pool! Water workouts just as good as on land,” Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, October 30, 2012.