Running in the water: 6 reasons why you should do it

Running in water is an exercise that is gaining more and more acclaim. Here’s how to do it and what are the benefits of water running

Eugenio Spagnuolo

In the summer there are those who swim and those who run. And the latter prefer to do it as far as possible from the water, for reasons of practicality. But there are also those who try to put the two factions in agreement, with running in the water: a workout that represents an escape from monotony and which according to science also has several benefits …

Traditionally used for injury rehabilitation, water jogging or water running it’s a way to improve cardiovascular fitness, increase strength and learn to run correctly, without any negative impact on the joints. The American site Livescience has collected the reasons why running in the water can be beneficial from a health point of view.

Running in water does not stress the joints

Exchanging the asphalt with water from time to time allows us to recruit the same muscles as running, without exacerbating the existing discomfort in the hips, knees and ankles. In fact, water acts as a counterweight to gravity, which naturally generates resistance without the full impact of our step. A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Human Kinetics indeed states that immersion (up to shoulder height) in water unloads up to 85% of body weight. Those prone to knee and ankle problems may benefit from it.

Running in the water increases strength

Water is denser than air and when we move in the water we encounter greater resistance, which makes the exercise more intense. And the faster we move, the more the intensity increases. “Immersed in the water, we notice greater resistance from all sides. This exercises the muscles we use when we run on land, but in a different way: ideal for increasing strength and maintaining cardiovascular fitness, ”LiveScience experts explain. In addition, increases in muscle power can also be achieved. A study published by Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise showed that plyometric training (explosive movement such as sprinting and jumping) in water can improve the jumping ability of volleyball players.

Running in water improves cardiovascular fitness

The heart and lungs become more efficient by running in water and this improves our maximum aerobic capacity (the maximum amount of oxygen the body can absorb and use). “The pressure that water exerts on the body helps return peripheral blood flow to the heart,” writes LiveScience. “This increased blood flow puts less pressure on the heart to pump blood around the body. Exercising in water lowers blood pressure and heart rate and blood circulation improves, which means the body can use oxygen more efficiently. “

Running in water speeds up your metabolism

The added water pressure increases muscle recruitment and muscle strength, perceived exertion levels, and intensity and energy requirement, all of which can help increase our metabolic rate and increase calorie burn.

Helps build a stronger core

Predictably, training in the water is also a balance training: due to the turbulence of the currents in the water, the body requires more balance, coordination and awareness to perform movements in the water effectively. Keeping us stable and upright in the water requires efforts especially in the core area, which improves its overall strength.

It can improve your running technique

Last but not least, running in the water can be used to introduce non-runners to the correct pace and movement requirements of running, before starting contact with the ground, “says the LiveScience expert.” Running in water can also help experienced runners retrain pace and can improve overall sports performance, as well as reduce the risk of injury. “

Like running in the water

According to experts, running 15 minutes in the pool with water that reaches waist height is like running an hour on the road due to the high energy expenditure and physical stress. To do it right the first rule is not to neglect the form: together with the technique it is as important under water as it is on land, if we want to replicate the bio-mechanics of a perfect race. “Some runners find it helpful to visualize themselves running on the road to make sure they stay as erect as possible, with their shoulders back and down and their stomachs pulled towards the spine. This means working on good posture, without the physical stress that the extra miles on the road would bring to our body ”. Finally, a valuable piece of advice: “It is important to stay well hydrated while exercising or rehabilitating in the water“, conclude the LiveScience experts.” Because running in the water you lose a lot of fluids but it is more difficult to notice “.

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