- Keeps you cooler as you work out.
Evaporation of sweat is not the only way to cool down during a work out. The movement of water over the warm skin (convection) transfers your body heat to the surrounding water. The more you move the water, the more convection occurs!
- You feel weightless in the water.
Even when you are not pregnant, when you are standing in water up to your belly button, you feel 50% lighter than you do on land. If you move to chest deep water you feel 75% lighter and in neck deep water you feel 90% lighter. Think of how awesome that feels on your aching back!
- You get more out of your workout.
On land you have gravity pulling you down so most of your resistance is in pulling things up. In the water, you have buoyancy counteracting that gravity. You also have resistance all around you! This means that every time you move a limb or change the direction you are traveling in, you are overcoming resistance! This makes you stronger and stabilizes your joints! And you feel like you aren’t working as hard, in part because of Reason #1!
- You don’t need to do a separate abdominal workout.
That resistance that we talked about in Reason #3 contributes to Reason #4. Every time you change the direction you are traveling in, move your whole body or stabilize your trunk to do an exercise, your core is overcoming the resistive forces (inertia) of the water. Do you remember when you were a kid and you and your friends would make a whirlpool and then turn around and try to go in the opposite direction? That’s what you do all the time in a PreNatal Aquafit class – just to a lesser degree.
- You lose your cankles!
Ah, yes – the bane of a pregnant woman’s existence – the dreaded ‘cankle.’ For those of you not yet fortunate enough to have experienced them, a ‘cankle’ is what you call an ankle that can no longer be distinguished from the calf.
The resistance that we just talked about in Reason #3 and Reason #4 also contributes to pressure that the water exerts on your body (hydrostatic pressure). This pressure actually forces the fluid that hangs out in your tissues (ie. Edema) back into your circulatory system. This results in less edema in places like your wrists and ankles. Goodbye cankles!!
Forcing the interstitial fluid back into the circulatory system is also one of the reasons you don’t feel like you are working super-hard in the water – even when you really are!
I’ve had a lot of participants jokingly call this class ‘The Silent Killer’ because they feel so good when they are doing it that they forget that they are working out! The next day they feel a little stiff and sore when they wake up – just as they would with a land-based class – but it goes away as they move through the day. The good news is that they keep coming back during their pregnancy, so they much enjoy it!
Click here to find a MommyMoves PreNatal Aquafit class in your area and then click on ‘Enrollments’ to see the schedule!
Leah Esplen, MSc (Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology) enjoys moving and eating well but is aware of the challenges that people (including her) face to do so. Her mission is to take the b.s. out of nutrition and fitness information to make it more ‘palatable.’ She believes anyone can make changes to improve their health, as long as they know the right changes to make. When not teaching in the BPK department at SFU, Leah can usually be found presenting at fitness conferences, teaching fitness instructors or teaching MommyMoves® PreNatal and Mom & Baby fitness classes. Amazingly, Leah is not perfect. She wrestles with chronic injury and finding the right combination of nutrition and physical activity to maintain her own health.