Adult water sports provide one of the best ways to get fit, giving you the anti aging benefits you’re looking for.
In fact, water sports can give you a tougher workout than doing the equivalent exercise on dry land. This is because your body has to work harder to push against the water.
However, they are ideal for adults because most water based exercise is low impact. The water acts like a cushion and puts very little pressure on your joints. There’s no jolting, so in comparison with land based sports, the risk of injury is minimal.
On land, resistance is provided by your body weight but, in a pool, the water supports the weight of your body, making it easier on the joints.
A 20-30 minute vigorous swim provides an excellent low-level aerobic workout. You’ll benefit from this adult water sport without having to push yourself too hard, so you can set your own pace.
Swimming helps strengthen muscles, increase suppleness and improve stamina. The water resists your movements and it is working against this resistance that makes it such effective exercise.
It is particularly useful for anyone who is overweight or who has back or leg problems because the water supports your weight, so that you can exercise quite energetically without risking muscle or joint damage.
Vary your strokes for the best results. Front crawl is best for increasing stamina and for improving your body shape. Breaststroke strengthens your upper body. Backstroke is good for your abdomen, legs and upper arms. Butterfly exercises your chest, arms, thighs and shoulders.
There’s almost bound to be a public swimming pool somewhere in your local vicinity and, if you’re over 60, you may find (as in my town) that you’ll be allowed free entry.
Most health clubs will also offer a pool and if you’re able to swim during the day (even during your lunch break), the fees will be less expensive.
If you can’t swim, it’s never too late to learn. And you’re not alone. 20% of adults in the UK cannot swim. Sign up for some lessons in an adult water sports class. The anti aging benefits as well as the confidence gained in the water will make it well worth it.
Try and find a class where the teacher is in the pool with you. You’ll learn more that way. Sometimes it takes a whole lesson just to get used to learning to breathe naturally but this is of utmost importance if you’re going to be relaxed in the water.
If you can swim but still lack confidence in the water, think about having a few lessons to help you improve. A good technique will enable you to get more out of your workout.
If a swimming pool doesn’t appeal and you’d prefer to take the plunge in the great outdoors, take some advice from Daniel Start and his book, Wild Swimming (Punk Publishing £14.95). You’ll discover where you can swim in rivers and lakes all over the UK and he gives safety advice and ideas for games.
If you like the idea of aerobics but are worried that a class on land might be too high powered, then aqua aerobics is a perfect solution.
As an adult water sport, aqua aerobics will give you a cardiovascular workout with body conditioning and toning but will be easier on your joints because you are weightless in water.
Join a class and have fun. You’ll find them offered in most leisure centers or local swimming pools. An instructor stands at the edge of the pool and you follow simple routines such as jumps, walking and running on the spot – in the shallow part of the pool obviously!
All you require is a swimsuit, although some instructors use water dumb bells, webbed mitts (to increase water resistance and help tone your arms) and flexible foam woggles. These are usually provided for you.
Go on, make a splash and get those clock hands turning backwards!