Swimming is the most common of all water exercises, and like other types of exercises performed in the water, it can improve circulation and strength, as well as mobility and cardiovascular health. Other water exercises include underwater running, water yoga, water stretching, and water walking. Walking and running are common exercises on land, and doing them in a pool or other body of water can help add more resistance and improve joint health, as the water can help support the joints, which is not possible on dry land.
Many people participate in water exercises for the resistance as well as the relaxation and improved circulation benefits. Swimming, for example, is a full-body workout that improves cardiovascular performance and therefore burns fat. This activity can also help build muscle, and it can help improve mobility and balance by conditioning the muscles of the body and building core muscles that support the spine during daily activities. Swimming can also improve oxygen delivery to the muscles, as a swimmer must focus on effective breathing techniques in order to participate in any prolonged swimming activities.
Other water exercises are less strenuous than swimming. Water walking, for example, is a low-impact activity that can still help burn fat and improve muscle and joint function. The walking activity is done just as it would be on land, but the water provides extra resistance, thereby strengthening muscles and improving mobility and flexibility. This is a great way to improve one's balance, particularly after an injury or surgery, and the risk of falling is lessened due to the buoyancy of the water supporting the body.
Underwater running is one of the less common water exercises, but one that is invaluable. Again, the motion is quite similar to running on land, but the water provides extra resistance and forces the muscles to work harder to propel the body forward and maintain balance. This is also a great way to improve mobility and core strength. For an even lower impact activity, some people participate in water yoga, which is essentially dry land yoga done in the water. The specific yoga poses may be completely different from those done on land, or they may be slightly altered versions of on-land positions.
Water exercises that focus on stretching are perhaps the lowest impact exercises done in a pool or other body of water. The participant can do specific stretches that work against buoyancy, and the stretches may be combined with cardio activities such as short swims or aerobic workouts.