Many people would be surprised to learn that doing aqua fitness in cold water is not as bad as it sounds. The benefits of exercising in cold water are numerous and significant. And, if you use common sense and listen to your body, the negative aspects are almost non-existent. In this post, I’ll discuss the various factors you should consider before you decide to exercise in cold water, and explore the various benefits of doing so. Let's dive in.
Exercising in Cold Water
Let's first understand how cold water affects our bodies.
Have you ever noticed how you feel more awake and energetic after a cold shower? That is because cold water triggers our nervous system to send out signals to engage in physical activity. Cold water also affects our cardiovascular system. When your body temperature drops, it causes blood vessels to constrict, thus reducing the amount of oxygen available to your cells. So your heart has to beat faster and more forcefully to provide those cells with a sufficient supply of oxygen. On the other hand, cold water could be a health hazard. That is because your body is fighting to keep itself warm. When physical activity fails to warm it up, you can get health compilations like hypothermia, a condition in which your body's ability to regulate its temperature is greatly impaired. The most common symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, fatigue, headache, and loss of coordination. To sum it up, being in cold water makes you more active. It improves circulation. And if you do it right, it won’t do any harm to your health. There are many other effects of cold water, but we won’t focus on them here.
Benefits of Exercising in Cold Water
On the whole, exercising in cold water has a more pronounced thermogenic (heat-producing) effect than exercising in temperate water. This is because, in cold water, your body has to work harder to keep itself warm. That means a person exercising in cold water would burn more calories than someone exercising in warmer water.
If you're exercising in cold water, you're helping your heart perform better. Cold water makes your heart beat faster. Your heart needs to work harder to circulate the blood to your working muscles. This would improve your overall cardiovascular health in the long run.
There are also studies that indicate immune system benefits from cold water exercises, not only by improving circulation, but also by increased oxygenation, lymphatic drainage and increased immune cell activity.
What activities should you do in cold water?
Any activity that helps you generate heat sufficiently would be the one to do. That means, the colder the water, the more intense the activity has to be. To build on that, activities that involve a lot of muscle work like aqua aerobics, aqua jogging, swimming, aqua biking, etc are ideal in cold water.
Here are 10 safety considerations to keep in mind before deciding to jump into cold water:
Disclaimer: The above info are for general education purposes. Always consult your physician before you exercise in cold water.
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