By Blaire Broers, PT, DPT, OCS, SST
Over the past few years, popular workouts seem to be trending toward more intense activities that may be harder on our bodies. Whether the workout requires a faster pace, higher impact activities, lifting heavier weights, or all of the above, sometimes we may be running our bodies into the ground to “get in shape”! Though the intention is undeniably positive, I question whether the benefits outweigh the stress and strain these workouts can place on our bodies and began to think about what are the fundamental goals of exercise.
Everyone has individual goals that help keep them motivated to stay active. Whether the goal is to set a personal record marathon time or to lower cholesterol levels, exercise related goals almost always relate back to living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of ourselves long term. However, some of today’s popular workouts are harder on our joints and may make it difficult to obtain the longevity we desire from our bodies. I have found both personally and through my physical therapy practice that incorporating restorative workouts into an exercise routine is an essential component of decreasing injury risk, recovering from an injury and enabling the body to train long term.
One of the best restorative workouts is exercising in the pool. Whether it is to swim laps, walk, or perform low impact strengthening exercises, the water is great environment for exercise while giving our joints a break. As the days are becoming shorter, and the weather is cooling, heading indoors to one of the Chicago park district pools is a great option if your gym does not have an indoor pool.
Click on this link to find the pool closest to you: http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/facilities/swimming-pools-indoor/
Not a swimmer? Here are some ideas for creating an effective water workout: