Feature Archive

Wet Workout Basics

WebMD Feature

June 12, 2000 -- You've probably seen people bobbing up and down in aqua exercise classes, smiling beneath their flowered swim caps. But these gentle water aerobics classes aren't the only way to get your workout wet. Both water-walking and deep-water running offer numerous fitness benefits and are catching on with competitive and recreational athletes alike. (For more details, see Power in Resistance.) Here's what you need to know to get started.

Water Walking

This is about as simple as it sounds. You just take your walk into the water. The deeper the water, the harder your workout will be. Find out which depth works for you and start there. Most people choose a water level between the bellybutton and the neck. You don't need a flotation belt to water-walk, but nonslip pool shoes or old tennis shoes may help.

Swing your arms in broad sweeping motions to push and pull the water. For more of an upper-body challenge, wear webbed gloves. This increases the surface area of your hands, and thus, increases the resistance. Stand tall, keeping your abdominal and back muscles tight.

To burn more calories, vary your direction: go backwards, sideways, or change directions suddenly. And remember, even though you don't see sweat, you are losing water. Keep a bottle of water nearby and drink early and often.