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Water workouts beneficial

Hit the pool to shape up and improve cardio

Whether you're new to working out or just searching for a full-body alternative to traditional cardio routines, a pool program can provide cardiovascular and strength benefits.

The tried-and-true method of swimming lengths provides excellent aerobic exercise for all fitness levels.

In fact, swimming just three times per week for as little as 20 minutes will significantly improve cardiovascular endurance.

If coupled with good eating habits, swimming will also burn off excess body-fat.

Even better, it provides full-body conditioning and flexibility training.

Without the jarring effects that dry-land training can have on our bodies, the potential for injury is greatly reduced, making swimming perfect for those suffering with chronic ankle or knee injuries.

If swimming lengths is not your thing, try aqua running.

All that's needed is a water belt, which fits around your waist to keep you partially afloat

as you perform running motions. Since water provides resistance that is proportional to effort, this exercise is viable for many fitness levels. The pool allows you to move freely and provides resistance without the stress of impact.

Water aerobics classes are another great option, especially for seniors or those who are significantly de-conditioned.

Often, these classes also involve strength training using pool tools like water dumbbells, pool noodles, and empty containers that provide resistance when submerged.

A good aqua aerobics class provides a solid cardio workout, while effectively strengthening many major muscle groups.

Best of all, water aerobics is a fun way to connect with old friends or even meet new ones.

Pool programs can also be designed for injury rehabilitation.

Many athletes have returned to their pre-injury form ahead of schedule with aqua rehab.

But, as with any vigorous exercise, pool programs should be tailored to your individual needs.

Always start with a comfortable level of exertion and progress slowly from there.

If you are just starting out on an exercise program remember that all programs can be tailored to your individual needs based on your age and fitness level.

Always start with a program that is comfortable for you and slowly progress from there.

Shaun Karp is a certified personal trainer. 604-420-7800 karpfitness. com