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Jogging on land is one of the most common and effective forms of cardiovascular exercise. But for those who suffer from injury, joint or bone issues or are overweight or obese may find it difficult or even impossible to jog. Fortunately for those individuals, jogging in water, or aqua jogging, can yield the same benefits while decreasing your risk of injury.
Jogging in water has significantly less impact than jogging on land. Jogging on land can stress your bones, joints and muscles leading to pain and even injury, especially if your body isn't conditioned for the exercise or if you've over trained yourself. The University of New Mexico notes that the buoyancy of water provides a 90-percent reduction in body weight while in the water. This means that your body will endure significantly less stress while submerged in water than while on land, making it a choice exercise for those who are injured, who are at risk for injury and those with special conditions such as pregnant women and people who suffer from arthritis or osteoporosis.
While jogging on land may seem difficult, jogging in water is significantly more challenging. This is due to the resistance that the water exerts on your body. Jogging in water is comparable to jogging on land while pulling a parachute; you'll get your breathing rate up without having to move very fast and you'll blast calories. Jogging in water will not only improve your cardiovascular fitness but, unlike jogging on land, it will also strengthen the muscles used to perform the movement. Stronger muscles can improve your jogging time on land and will also decrease your risk for future injury. The deeper the water, the more resistance you'll have to overcome and the harder you'll have to work in order to move through the water.
Jogging in water requires nearly every muscle in your body to overcome the resistance of the water, while jogging on land primarily works the muscles of the lower body. Jogging on land does make use of your arm, back and abdominal muscles but not to the extent of jogging in water. If your goal is to strengthen and work your entire body, then jogging in water is more effective than jogging on land.
How to Jog in Water
Jogging in water can be performed in a no-impact or a low-impact fashion. If you have a leg injury or other issue that requires no impact, then you will need a device to help keep you afloat like a kick board or aqua belt. The water should be deep enough that your feet cannot touch the bottom when your legs are extended. Use the device to keep your head and shoulders above water and begin to "jog" in the water. Make a jogging motion with your legs, working against the resistance of the water. Since it may be difficult to perform laps with this type of jogging, aim for a 15- to 30-minute workout as you cruise around the pool. For the low-impact version of jogging in water, you will actually need to jog. Stand in water at least hip deep but preferably chest deep. Begin to pump your arms and legs and jog through the water. Jog five to 10 laps or 20 to 30 minutes depending on your fitness goals.