Water Safety Tips for Aquatic Exercisers
by Rachaelle Lynn
Water workouts are healthy and effective, increasing endurance, agility, and strength while supporting weight loss efforts. Exercising in a swimming pool also helps protect bones and joints from the punishing effects of high-impact exercise. However, there are important water safety precautions to take to reduce the chance of injury or drowning. If you exercise in the water, follow these safety guidelines for aquatic exercisers:
- It’s become a cliché, but it’s still relevant: Consult a physician before beginning any exercise program, including water fitness activities. A pre-existing condition could pose a safety problem if it’s aggravated by your water workout.
- Get to know your swimming pool. If you’re working out in a health club pool, familiarize yourself with changes in depth and safety features before beginning your workout. Even if you work out in your own pool, review these items; the shallow end will seem a lot further away when you’re tired from a workout.
- Work out with a partner or at a pool with an on-duty lifeguard whenever possible. If you’re recovering from an injury, work out with a trainer or physical therapist or stay in the shallow end of the pool.
- Match your water workout to your swimming ability. There are plenty of aquatic exercises you can do in the shallow end of the pool if you aren’t a strong swimmer.
- Start slowly and don’t overestimate your abilities. It’s better to progress more gradually and stay safe than to take chances in the pool and have an accident.
- If you are too cold or too hot, feel dizzy or nauseated, or suffer even a minor injury, get out of the pool immediately.
- Spread water workouts out evenly throughout the week instead of trying to accomplish your entire fitness program in one or two days. Exercising too long, too intensely, increases the risk of injury, and injuries increase the risk of drowning.
- Drink water before and after your water workout to avoid dehydration. If the swimming pool you exercise in is outdoors, avoid exercising in the heat of the day during summer months.
- Read and observe all safety precautions in the owner’s manual of any pool fitness equipment you use, such as aquatic bikes and treadmills. Use aquatic fitness equipment only as specified in the owner’s manual.
- Use a water noodle or aqua jogging belt to provide supportive floatation when you walk or jog in the deep end of the pool.
- Keep a cellphone in a water-resistant cover poolside whenever you exercise in the water.
- Make sure the pool you work out in is properly maintained at all times.