Pool exercise may build strength, reduce falls
from the Baltimore Sun
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women who did a high-intensity aquatic workout for six months increased their strength and suffered fewer falls, in a new study that suggests bone- and muscle-building resistance can be achieved with the right kinds of water exercises.
"What we did was to test the model for muscle training in the gyms and put it inside the pools," said lead author Linda Moreira, a researcher at the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo.
The study should encourage postmenopausal women at risk for osteoporotic bone-thinning that pool-based exercise can increase muscle and bone strength, according to Moreira's team.
Aquatic aerobics became popular in the 1990s as a way for older people to exercise without straining their joints or being injured in falls.
However, aquatic exercise fell out of favor, experts said, because of concerns that the bone and muscle-building benefits of resisting gravity in standard exercises were diminished when someone is buoyant in water.
To test a water workout Moreira's group designed to increase resistance and build strength, they recruited just over 100 inactive women in their 50s and 60s.
All the women took 1,000 international units of vitamin D3 and 500 milligrams of calcium daily - both vitamins known to help build bone and muscle - during the six-month study.
Half the women were also assigned to an aquatic exercise program, which Moreira's group created to combat osteoporosis by preventing falls, and named HydrOS.
Instead of the more typical high-repetition, low-impact aqua-aerobics, the HydrOS interval training included bursts of intense activity between 10 to 30 seconds at up to 90 percent of maximum heart rate. The water created the resistance that weights would provide on land, Moreira said.
Seven months later, the number of falls among aquatic exercisers had dropped 86 percent, and the number of women who suffered falls dropped 44 percent. In the sedentary group, the number of falls remained unchanged, according to results published in the journal Menopause.
The researchers also found that flexibility plus hand, back, hip and knee strength increased in the aquatic exercisers. The women in the sedentary group showed mild increases in balance and strength as well, but the researchers attributed those improvements to the calcium and vitamin D supplements.
As people age, they lose muscles used for quick movements that stimulate bone health. But, according to Moreira, typical aquatic aerobics work muscles used for slower day-to-day movement.
"Physical instructors were training the wrong muscle type," she said.
About a quarter of the study participants had osteoporosis, half were at the beginning stage of the bone disease and the remaining quarter had normal bones.
"There's this bias in the osteoporosis community against doing any water-based exercise," said Andrea LaCroix, a researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who studies health in older women. LaCroix was not involved in the current study.
"This study goes in the face of that," LaCroix told Reuters Health. "If they show changes in bone density, that would be quite amazing and novel and will be a paradigm changer in terms of osteoporosis prevention."
Moreira told Reuters Health that another soon-to-be-published paper will show that over the six months of the study, the aquatic exercise group maintained bone mineral density in their femur leg bones while the sedentary women lost 1.2 percent of bone density.
Very little is known about how water exercise can improve health in older adults, said Wendy Kohrt, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Kohrt was not involved in the current study.
"Without knowing what the benefits are, it's difficult to recommend water exercise; (the study) fills a gap in knowledge that is a pretty big gap," Kohrt added.
"Improvements tended to be small (with the aquatic approach). It's a little difficult to judge just how effective this type of exercise program is," Kohrt told Reuters Health.
Kohrt noted that one serious limitation of the study was that researchers didn't use equipment that could maximize muscle resistance.
"There are ways to use devices in water to make it a more effective strength training approach," Korht said, such as moving a milk jug or webbed object through the water.
"The next step is to find out whether water exercise can be as effective as more traditional land-based types of exercises," Kohrt said.
Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/sns-rt-us-pool-exercise-may-build-strength-reduce-fallbre-20130412,0,2734888.story#ixzz2QdX2fQeN
10 Reasons to Start Swimming Now!
Speed up the process to that Summer tan and bikini body by jumping into the pool. Yes, the treadmill is fun, and so are those dumbbells, but they only offer a portion of what a swim workout does. From toning your core to speeding up your metabolism, there are several reasons why you should consider swimming your new go-to. Grab a suit and find out the 10 reasons why you should start swimming!
- It's a total-body workout: Swimming tackles everything from sculpting your back to toning your arms — all without having to pick up a weight. Rather than needing a plan to work specific muscles, all four strokes work to strengthen your entire body.
- It's joint-friendly: If you're recovering from an injury and are eager to build strength, then look into starting a swimming routine to stay fit. If running is your passion, then swimming is a great way to work out on recovery days, allowing knees a rest from the pavement.
- It's muscle-lengthening: If you're worried about bulking up (which you shouldn't be), then consider swimming. Swimming combines resistance training with cardio, building lean muscle and boosting your metabolism. It also puts your body through a range of movements, helping your muscles stay long and flexible.
- It's helpful with exercise-induced asthma: Many swimmers first jump into the pool to relieve exercise-induced asthma. This is because swimming allows you to work out in moist air, reducing asthma symptoms. Because swimming requires some breath control, it also improves your overall lung and breathing capacity.
- Keep reading for more reasons to jump into the pool!
- It doesn't require fancy equipment: That's right; you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars to swim. All you need is a swimsuit, cap, and goggles. Even if you do decide to add more equipment (e.g. a kickboard), they are rather inexpensive, and chances are your local pool has a few handy.
- It's a great way to burn calories: Those myths about swimmers and calorie intake aren't false. That's because one hour of moderate swimming can burn around 500 calories. This revs up your metabolism, continuing the burn well after you've stepped off the deck.
- There are several variations: The workouts are endless when it comes to the pool. Beyond all four strokes, you can kick, pull, or even use the wall for push-ups! Grab a friend and try this interval workout.
- It's optimal for cross-training: Avoid elliptical burnout and a gym-class rut by trading gym workouts for the pool. A swim workout will actually improve overall performance at the gym (and vice versa!) When you're training for a marathon or any other competition, jumping in the pool can offer you an extra edge over your competitors.
- It maximizes your cardio: Swimming is the ultimate aerobic activity. There is more breath control compared to running, thus an increased demand for oxygen, causing your muscles to work harder. Because of this, you can get more bang for you buck in a short amount of time.
- It's refreshing: Jumping into a pool is refreshing! You don't need to be a professional swimmer to reap the benefits. Have fun with it, and enjoy being in the water. If anything, you'll walk away with a nice tan and an endorphin kick!
Six Common Swimming Myths (And How To Avoid Them)
By Sara McLarty, triathlete.competitor.com
Published Feb 15, 2013
Updated 4 days ago
1. Freestyle is the only stroke triathletes need to know.
Freestyle is the fastest and most efficient stroke, so it will be used most of the time when completing a long-distance swim. However, every triathlete should have a "safety" stroke to use when they are tired, need to find the buoys or clear their goggles in a race. Plus, learning other strokes works different muscles and keeps things interesting.
2. You're supposed to hold your breath underwater.
Holding your breath causes a buildup of carbon dioxide and promotes a gasping feeling. Instead, constantly exhale a steady stream of bubbles out of your nose and mouth when your face is in the water between inhales.
3. If you always race in a wetsuit, it's OK to always train with a pull buoy.
Over-training with a pull buoy will never allow you to learn how to balance your body in the water. Instead, do drills targeted on floating and arching your back to keep your body horizontal along the surface of the water.
4. Triathletes shouldn't bother with kicking drills.
Quite the contrary: The kick is very important for initiating core rotation and balance for the entire body. Triathletes should practice kicking, at a low cadence, to create a stronger and more efficient stroke with their upper body.
5. Swimming continuous laps without rest is an efficient use of training time.
Stroking nonstop through countless, mindless laps isn't maximizing pool time—it's wasting it. Every length of the pool should have a purpose that will improve technique, endurance, speed or breathing efficiency. Start each workout with a structured plan targeting specific goals to really make it count.
6. Bilateral breathing is only important for competitive swimmers.
Breathing on both sides is more important for triathletes than pool swimmers—especially in open water. The conditions can change at a moment's notice: wind direction, waves and chop, blinding sunlight, etc.
Water exercise boosts endurance in COPD
Water workouts may be the best type of exercise for people with chronic lung disease and other health problems, according to a small study.
Australian researchers found that exercising in a pool boosted physical endurance and energy levels in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and physical comorbidities such as obesity or back pain.
What the study found
"Participants in the water-based exercise training group reported an improvement in many functional aspects of their daily life such as improved stamina and ability to complete tasks such as walking long distances when shopping," said Renae McNamara, a physical therapist at The Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick.
With more and more swimmers around the world using the dolphin kick as a huge weapon in races, what are the key technique points to have the best dolphin kick? Many people point to hip movement as being the most critical, but the leg motion and position are equally – if not more – important.
To call swimming a religious experience might sound like sacrilege.
But for many of us, every time we slip into a bikini, or plunge into the ocean, or pound out our laps, we're actually taking part in a spiritual rite. Swimming is an ancient activity, combining the mystical properties of waters with the pure joy of liquid flowing over the body. Not to mention the possibility of outpacing your enemies or tightening your midriff in the process. I do it to relax and revive, to quiet my angst and invigorate my soul; to enter a world of silence and weightlessness far more peaceful than the one in which I live.
The breaststroke technique is the easiest way to swim, and it's known by most of people. Usually coach uses this stroke to start learning swimming techniques for beginner. Its discard breathing and visibility problems.
Backstroke - Opposite Shoulder Single Arm
Good backstroke requires a certain amount of rotation, but this rotation also has benefits in reducing the resistance you create recovering your arms.
Although spring has not started, summer is just around the corner. And as the needle on the thermometer creeps up, it means a lot of children, teenagers and adults will be making a beeline for the area's swimming pools.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the sixth leading cause of accidental injury death for all ages, and the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14. Knowing how to stay safe around a swimming pool is crucial because one slip or wrong turn could mean injury or even death if children do not know how to save themselves in the water.
Head-up Freestyle in Water Polo
The most obvious difference between swimming and water polo is the presence of a ball. In order to efficiently move the ball from one end of the pool to the other, swimmers need to learn to swim freestyle with their head up. Head-up freestyle swimming is important to the game of water polo for a number of reasons:
* It allows the player to keep his eye on the ball at all times.
* It gives the player control over where the ball goes.
* It keeps the player aware of the playing environment.
* It allows for communication with other teammates.