Water Based Exercises
Low-Stress, Low-Impact
by Merlin Hearn

young girl playing soccer

Water based exercises are a great option for any athlete recovering from an injury, a pregnant woman looking for exercises, or anyone who is looking for a way to get in shape that puts less impact on joints.

In addition, water exercises are less stressful on your body and can improve mood and mental attitude.

I used to play volleyball, indoor and beach, year round.

I loved it, but unfortunately my ankles and wrists were becoming shells of what they used to be.

They hurt when I went to the gym and I had given up any shot of lifting heavy amounts of weight.

Volleyball Star Saves His Career

I was looking for a way to stay in shape and stumbled on a video of an Olympic gold medalist, Eric Fonoimona, who had the same problems as me.

He was about to give up volleyball altogether after college, his ankles and knees taxed to a breaking point, until he found an old high school coach who turned him on to water -based exercises.

Needless to say, the exercises saved his career, and he credits them for giving him the vertical leap and conditioning he became famous for, winning him a gold medal in 1996.

After hearing of his story, I knew I had to give these exercises a try.

Benefits of Water Based Exercises

The benefits of water exercises are both physical and mental, which aids in the process of healing and overall health. Just a few of the physical benefits include:


  • They allow a person to use a muscle without any strain on the joints connecting it. 
  • They are becoming commonplace in major athletic sports, dramatically decreasing recovery time of paid athletes.
  • They alleviate suffering from arthritis, improving use of affected joints and decreasing pain.
  • They help pregnant women and unborn babies improve their health.
  • They improve or preserve the bone health of post-menopausal women.


Anyone who likes to swim can attest to the calming nature it induces on a swimmer. Water exercise has been shown to: 

  • Improve moods in both men and women.
  • Decrease depression
  • Alleviate anxiety

Low-Stress, Low-Impact Exercise

Water offers ten to twelve times the resistance that air does and at the same time our bodies are 90 percent more buoyant. 

What this equates to with exercise is a lower impact on joints, creating a pain-free way to work out. It does not demand nearly as much strain on the ligaments and tendons connecting our muscles together.


Water-based exercises are a healthier way for older people, pregnant women, those who are overweight, and people suffering from an injury to stay in shape.

Some popular forms include water aerobics, swimming laps, or walking/running underwater.

If interested, check with your local recreation center or gym to see what classes they offer.

Return from Water Based Exercises to Proper Hydration Basics for Sports and Fitness

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