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Everybody in the pool

Water's fitness benefits

Remember what it's like to play in the water? Refreshing, fun, and satisfyingly exhausting. 

“That doesn’t have to change as you get older,” says Molly Charley, director of aquatics at TrailPoint Aquatics and Wellness External Site in Ankeny, Iowa. She encourages parents to get out from under the umbrellas and play with the kids. “It’s fun, a great way to connect, plus you’ll get a workout.”

Instead of sitting out the kid-free pool breaks, get a little more serious. If you can, swim a few laps or try water walking or running.

Make a splash

Unlike physical activity on dry land, when you run, splash, play and exercise in the water, there's natural resistance and no gravity. “Water provides 1214 percent more resistance than moving air,” says Charley. So, your muscles do more work, but you feel it less.

“When you run and jump in the water, your body doesn’t experience the same impact. In fact, it makes you feel 90 percent lighter,” says Charley. “It’s great for people with arthritis, back problems, foot and leg injuries and knee conditions.”

Water exercise also builds cardiovascular stamina, strength and flexibility, burns fat and increases circulation. Many people use it as a way to safely rebuild muscles and joints.

Make the pool your workout destination, all year long

According to Charley, once you start exercising in the pool, you won’t want to give it up. 

“The face of water exercise is changing,” says Charley. “Today’s classes attract a wide variety of people, from elite athletes to people who are nursing injuries, to the casual exerciser.  

Charley teaches a number of creative, high-intensity water classes. Some use weights, others are non-weight bearing. The latest, most popular course she teaches is called BOGAFit. It is a like a boot camp and yoga on a mat on top of the water. The class is so popular there is a waiting list.

What’s the number one thing that holds people back from pool time? “Wearing a swimsuit,” says Charley. “But I sense that is changing, too,” she adds. “With a class like BOGAFit, you might not even get wet. You can simply wear tight-fitting athletic clothing or running shorts.”

Not sure if it's right for you?

Watch this BOGAFit class taught by Charley.

Try this water workout: BOGAFit

Take your walking or running routine into the pool

More people are taking their walking and running to the pool. "It's the same exercise, without all the jarring and jostling of joints,” says Charley. Despite how easy it is on your joints, it will feel more intense in the pool than it does on land.

How to start:

  • Beginners should start in the shallow end of the pool. Intermediate and advanced exercisers can go deeper while wearing a foam buoyancy belt.  
  • Simply walk or run as you would on land (no "bicycling" your legs in the water).
  • Start with just 23 minutes of walking or running, followed by a minute of rest.
  • You’ll have to slow down your movement to about one-third to one-half of what it is on land. As your strength increases, you can gradually increase your pace.
  • Wear water shoes to keep your feet from blistering or rubbing.

“When you’re done with this workout, walking or running outside will seem like a breeze,” says Charley.

Save with Blue365®

As a Wellmark member, you can get exclusive discounts on fitness apparel and products (like swimsuits and water weights), fitness club memberships (with swimming pools), and more. 

Simply use your Wellmark ID card to browse the healthy deals and daily offers External Site.

Blue365® is a discount program available to members who have medical coverage with Wellmark. This is NOT insurance.

Blue365® is a registered mark and Because health is a big dealSM is a service mark of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.