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Underwater Running: 5 Reasons It’s Better Than Running on Land

Man Running Underwater in Swimming Pool | Pool Workout

Running is a great exercise that can improve your cardiovascular system and help build strong muscles. But it comes with its downsides, too: frequent injuries and wear-and-tear on your body. Some people are turning to aquatic running, also known as pool running, to get the same benefits without the intense stress on the body.

Here are some great reasons why you may consider running in the pool as a workout alternative.

1. You’ve Suffered an Injury

Anyone who consistently works out understands that injuries are a part of the process. But most people don’t like the downtime that comes with the healing process. After all, having to avoid workouts for longer periods can diminish the results they worked so hard for.

Enter pool running. This form of exercise will allow you to continue your training regime without reinjuring your body. For instance, if you injured your foot, you can’t continue to run on land. But if you practice certain types of pool running, you can still get the effects of the workout without risking re-injury.

2. Reduce the Impact

When you run or jog on land, your body takes a hit every time your feet hit the pavement. It stresses your bones, muscles, and joints which can lead to an injury. But because the water’s buoyancy creates a 90% reduction in body weight when you’re in the water, most of that impact goes away with pool running.

This is a great alternative for anyone who suffers from bad knees, arthritis, osteoporosis, or for pregnant women who want to continue to work out without the harsh impacts of land running.

Did You Know?

Aqua jogging can also help you with temperature control during your workouts. Avoid those sweaty, hot jogs on pavement and instead get a great workout in the cool water!

3. Engage More Muscles

When running on land, you mostly use your lower body muscles, but pool running provides a workout for almost every muscle in your body. That’s because of the water-resistance you will experience with aqua running. For instance, land running doesn’t require the use of your arms, abdominal, or back muscles. But when running through the water, all of these muscles are used.

4. Use the Resistance

Imagine jogging on land against a strong wind and pulling along a parachute on your back. That’s a pretty good idea of how resistance works to give you a better workout when pool running. The water’s resistance will increase your breathing rate, give you a better cardiovascular workout, and make your muscles stronger as they have to fight against the water’s resistance.

5. Burn More Calories

Because of the resistance and the fact that a pool runner works his upper body in addition to the lower body, aqua running burns 3.5 more calories per minute than land running. (A land runner burns 8 calories per minute, while a pool runner burns 11.5 calories per minute.)

Two Types of Pool Running

If you like the idea of pool running, you have two options to choose from: no-impact or low-impact pool running. Both provide excellent workouts, but the second option is more difficult and will result in a more intense workout.

Pool Bottom Running

Running in your pool with your feet touching the pool’s bottom is a low-impact exercise. To do it, stand in hip-deep to chest-deep water and begin jogging in the water. Be sure to pump your arms as you jog to get the full benefits of the exercise.

Depending on your fitness level and goals, you can jog as many laps as you are comfortable with, or set a timer and try to improve the time you spend jogging each day.

Here’s a video that shows the proper form:

Deep Water Running

If you prefer a no-impact workout, deep water running is probably right for you. To do this type of workout, you will need to use the deep end of the pool where your feet do not touch the bottom. Then, put on an aqua belt or use a floating device to stay afloat.

Now, make a jogging motion with your legs and allow them to carry you around the pool. Because you won’t go in a straight line using this method, you should aim for timed exercises rather than lap totals.

Here’s a short tutorial video that shows you exactly how it’s done:

Is Pool Running Right For You?

Only you know which type of jogging or running workout is right for you. While pool running has a lot of great benefits that land running doesn’t, don’t forget that it’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise routine.


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