August 2018: Aquatics & Obesity



Content courtesy of the National Swimming Pool Foundation


Obesity is no small problem. Individuals with body fat percentages which exceed the threshold of 30% are now no longer atypical. In fact, morbid obesity is the new obesity. With it, any variety of obesity carries a host of potential problems, some due to the disease itself and some due to the metabolic cascade and lack of exercise that often accompanies the disorder. The answer?

Less food and more exercise. Unfortunately, more exercise is often not in the cards. The excessive weight bearing load and sheer force that accompanies exercising on land can quickly put the kibosh on any thoughts of establishing an exercising regiment.

Children who start out their lives obese are fighting an uphill battle to change their trajectory, but one of the simplest tools available to adolescent and adult alike is the humble swimming pool. Of special interest is the fact that it is possible to couple strength training with aerobic exercise when immersed without fear of the consequences that might accompany such exploits under gravity’s dominance.

The buoyancy of the water provides freedom of movement and a reduction in compression forces (although such forces are not completely absent). The viscosity or stickiness of water produces a tit-for-tat resistive force that is easily manipulated. In the event of pain or discomfort, it is quite simple for the exercise participant to merely stop moving – effectively wiping away the resistive forces of immersion and while preserving the buoyant ones.

Individuals who find their way to the water’s edge at least 3 times a week and who exercise at 55-90% of their maximum heart rate have implemented a wise and evidence-based approach to weight loss. And – no small matter – the psychological improvement that inevitably follows exercise is also worth its weight in gold.


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