The Best Water Workouts

water aerobics(BlackDoctor.org) — When the weather gets hot, the coolest place to be is in the pool. And when it comes to working out, pool workouts can be one of the best ways to burn fat fast, tone muscles and improve endurance.

Aquatic exercise can also help relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia, a disease that African American women are more likely to suffer from than white women. Working out in the pool is also great for overweight people or those suffering from arthritis because the buoyancy in water takes the pressure off of bones and joints.

Because you get these great benefits in shallow water, you don’t even need to know how to swim (though, of course, swimming is yet another outstanding exercise). What’s even better about working out in the pool is that it doesn’t have to feel like work.

Here are some great exercises to help you dive into fitness:

Water Jogging

Quite possibly the simplest and most effective water workout, water jogging burns 17 calories per minute which is about 10 calories more per minute than jogging on land.  Jog for intervals of three minutes at a time alternating with toning exercises.

Water Squats

Slightly bend your knees while standing with your feet hip-width apart.  With your feet planted firmly to the floor of the pool, squeeze your glutes as you lift up and return to the start position.

Otter Roll

This fun workout targets the butt, legs, back and abs.  Grab a beach ball and hold it close to your chest while floating on your back with legs extended and feet touching.  Rock from side to side with your head above water. If you’re really comfortable in the water, use your shoulder and hip to propel you into the water to make a full revolution then change sides.

Spiderman

The water gives you a unique opportunity to defy gravity and use it to your benefit.  Face the side walls of the pool and climb the wall while sweeping your arms back and forward.  Do the Spiderman four times before alternating leading legs. Do as many reps as you can fit into 30 seconds.

Ball Lever

Grab your beach ball again for this upper body and core workout.  Hold the beach ball with arms stretched out in front of you. Float facedown or with your head above water. Draw the ball down towards your thighs as fast as you can.  To return to the start position, bend your elbows before extending your arms straight out.  Keep your body as stiff as possible during this exercise to get the maximum benefit. Do as many reps as you can in 30 seconds or until you need to take a breath, whichever comes first.

Up-Downs

For the more advanced swimmer, up downs take you to the deep end of the pool.  Dive to the bottom of the deep end and once you reach the bottom, propel yourself back up to the surface. Once you catch your breath, repeat this 10 times. Try to do 5 sets of 10 repetitions.

Fly Backs

Fly backs not only work the upper chest, arms and back, they also improve posture.  Start this workout in the lunge position with one knee bent at a 90 degree angle in front of you and the other leg extended behind you. Reach arms straight out in front of you with your palms touching and your fingers extended. Open your arms out to your sides and then return to the starting position.  Do four sets of 8 reps and switch starting leg with each rep.

Water workouts can be fun and offer fantastic results. To get the most of your water workout, follow these tips:

• Wear a comfortable bathing suit that keeps everything in place.  For women, that may mean replacing your current bikini or strappy swimsuit with one that is better suited for working out. Look for support in the breast area, thick supportive straps that don’t fall down constantly and a nylon or spandex material.

• Yes, you do need to bring water to the pool. You can get just as dehydrated in the pool as you can on land.

• Stay in your comfort zone. If any exercise makes you feel uncomfortable don’t do it. Working out in the water should be a fun experience, not a scary one.

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Are Grandparents Actually The Safest Drivers?

senior couple driving a motor homeAccording to surprising new research study results, children who are driven by their grandparents, as opposed to their parents, tend to suffer fewer injuries.

“We were surprised to discover that the injury rate was considerably lower in crashes where grandparents were the drivers,” said Dr. Fred Henretig, an emergency medicine specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the study’s lead author.

Previous evidence indicates that car crashes are more common in older drivers, mostly those beyond age 65. The study looked at injuries rather than who had more crashes, and found that children’s risk for injury was 50 percent lower when riding with grandparents than with parents.

The results are from an analysis of State Farm insurance claims for 2003-07 car crashes in 15 states, and interviews with the drivers. The data involved nearly 12,000 children up to age 15.

Henretig, 64, said the study was prompted by his own experiences when his first grandchild was born three years ago.

“I found myself being very nervous on the occasions that we drove our granddaughter around and really wondered if anyone had ever looked at this before,” he said.

Reasons for the unexpected findings are uncertain, but the researchers have a theory.

“Perhaps grandparents are made more nervous about the task of driving with the ‘precious cargo’ of their grandchildren and establish more cautious driving habits” to compensate for any age-related challenges, they wrote.

The study was released online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Northwestern University Professor Joseph Schofer, a transportation expert not involved in the research, noted that the average age of grandparents studied was 58.

“Grandparents today are not that old” and don’t fit the image of an impaired older driver, he said. “None of us should represent grandparents as kind of hobbling to the car on a walker.”

Grandparents did flub one safety measure. Nearly all the kids were in car seats or seat belts, but grandparents were slightly less likely to follow recommended practices, which include rear-facing backseat car seats for infants and no front-seats. But that didn’t seem to affect injury rates.

Only about 10 percent of kids in the study were driven by grandparents, but they suffered proportionately fewer injuries.

Overall, 1.05 percent of kids were injured when riding with parents, versus 0.70 percent of those riding with grandparents, or a 33 percent lower risk. The difference was even more pronounced — 50 percent — when the researchers took into account other things that could influence injury rates, including not using car seats, and older-model cars.

Kids suffered similar types of injuries regardless of who was driving, including concussions, other head injuries and broken bones.

The study does not include data on deaths, but Henretig said there were very few. It also lacked information on the types of car trips involved; for example, driving in busy city traffic might increase chances for crashes with injuries.

Schofer, the Northwestern professor, said other unstudied circumstances could have played a role. For example, grandparents could be less distracted and less frazzled than busy parents dropping their kids off at school while rushing to get to work or to do errands. Driving trips might be “quality time” for older drivers and their grandchildren, Schofer said.