Bellingham Athletic Club

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Reap the Performance Benefits of the 4-Scientific Properties of Water!

There are a variety of exercise modalities that can have a pronounced impact on your level of physical activity. Using a Water environment is one such modality due to its’ scientific properties. The specific properties that lend themselves to increased performance are:

• Buoyancy (body’s ability to float in water)

• Hydrostatic Pressure (pressure of water on the body)

• Viscosity (density of the water)

• Thermodynamics (temperature of the water)

How do these properties enhance physical activity performance?

• Upward lift of the water on the body or “buoyancy” reduces the effect of gravity on your body. Being submerged in chest-deep water decreases the effect of gravity by 60% whereas being submerged in neck-deep water reduces the effects by 90%. So what’s the benefit? Buoyancy means less impact on your joints which is especially important if you have joint issues or just would like to recover from gravity-based training.

• The pressure of the water, “Hydrostatic Pressure”, is exerted on all the surfaces on the body. This multi-directional pressure compresses the chest making breathing more difficult but with training, the muscular mechanisms of breathing do improve. Water pressure “massages” the body assisting with circulation so the heart does not have to work as hard to pump blood throughout the working body. The Lymphatic system also benefits from the “massaging” pressure assisting the bodies “garbage carriers”!

• Waters density or “Viscosity is approximately 800 times denser than air! Why is that a benefit? Because of its’ density, any movement in the water provides resistance in a multitude of directions. Increasing the speed of movement and/or the surface area of the movement can exponentially increase the resistance to the movement!

• Water transfers heat, “Thermodynamics”, away from the body 25 times faster than air! This affects the heart rate and oxygen consumption rate during activity. Cooler temperatures, 64.4-77 F degrees Fahrenheit, result in lower heart rates than do warmer temperatures, 86-95.9 F degrees Fahrenheit. For that reason, it is advisable to use Ratings of Perceived Effort (either 1-10 scale or 6-25 scale) instead of Heart Rate.

The contribution of these scientific properties of water allow us an exercise medium we can safely use to improve our Aerobic Endurance, Muscle Strength, Muscle Mobility and Flexibility, allow for graded progressive exercise as well as lessen the daily impact of gravity, giving the body some needed recovery!

Make a splash in your physical activity by giving Water Fitness a try!!