Expert Author Kasia Lanucha

Most fitness recommendations suggest that you should do two types of exercise to keep up an ideal level of fitness.

The first is cardiovascular exercise which is just a fancy way of saying that you need to exercise your heart. This is best done by sustained exercise such as walking, jogging, bicycling or swimming, really any activity where you don't stop moving for at least 15 minutes. This type of training will make your heart stronger and help increase your energy levels.

The other type of exercise generally recommended is resistance training. Most people think this means weight training but you really don't need weights to do resistance training. Any kind of exercise that works the muscles and makes them stronger is resistance training. This can be doing push-ups, climbing or static isometric exercises to name just three well-known examples.

A good way to combine both of these modes of exercise into one and which also happens to be gentle and easy on your joints is walking in water. Some people may right away wonder why you would want to walk in water and not swim. Well, we do not want to criticize swimming because it is one of the best forms of exercise for both your muscles and for your heart but the unfortunate truth is that not everyone can swim or feels comfortable swimming. Most people, however, can walk in water.

When you walk in water it is more difficult because the water forms a resistance against your movement. This fact provides a special opportunity. You can actually use the resistance of the water to kill two birds with one stone in your exercise program. Because walking in water is more challenging than walking on land your muscles will have to work harder to overcome that resistance. This is, in effect, what you are trying to achieve when you do any kind of resistance training: To put more stress on the muscles so that they become stronger.

You can add water walking exercise sessions to your regular walking sessions. Try to do the sessions at least once a week, preferably twice a week so that you can get the most strength benefits.

When doing your water walking exercise it's good to choose a time when there are fewer people in the swimming pool. Your walking speed will be slower than the strong swimmers in the pool, so you do not want to impede people who have come to the pool to swim. In most public swimming pools this is not a major concern as there are always areas of the pool that are set aside for people who want to work at their own pace.

When you're walking in the pool the distance you cover becomes less important since you will be moving much more slowly than you are capable of on land. A good way to measure your training sessions is to exercise for 10 minutes for your first sessions and then, if you wish, increase the duration for a greater challenge.

You may well find yourself getting more fatigued walking in water. Unlike walking on land you should take pauses in your walks to recover. Your heart rate will be higher and you will need the time to recover. Walk one width of the pool and then take a rest until you feel yourself recovered, and then walk across the opposite direction of the pool. Do this for 10 minutes for your initial sessions and slowly over the course of weeks build up the time you can spend in the water until you are able to walk for 20 minutes.

This is an excellent workout that will improve your strength and endurance at the same time, saving you time and helping you progress in your goals more rapidly.

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