By Daphne Baldwin Kornrich, MS, RDN, CSOWN, CDN

We all know that being active and exercising are essential to good health. The benefits of exercise include weight loss and maintenance, better glucose control, bone health and stress reduction. The American College of Sports Medicine’s guidelines recommends that healthy adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days per week. The recommendation for weight maintenance is 60-90 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity/exercise five days a week.

All that is easier said than done, especially when you have limitations such as joint and motion issues which may impede you from doing exercises such as walking, biking, elliptical etc. A good solution, especially now that summer is here, is swimming.

Swimming is a fun, low impact and healthy way to get cardiovascular exercise. People of all ages, sizes and expertise can benefit from the cardiovascular benefits of swimming. Exercising in the water increases our mobility and when there is 80-90 percent less weight pulling at our bones and joints we have less pain. Less pain may lead to more time swimming and more calorie burning. Swimming not only provides a great cardio workout, but it also helps improve strength, body composition and endurance.

Research has been emerging on how water fitness is beneficial not only for those with physical limitations but for everyone. Please see below research studies cited in IDEA Fitness Journal, May 2017.

  • A study of post-menopausal women showed that those who trained with water resistant equipment twice a week for 10 weeks improved their strength, reduced fat and increased lean body mass as well as those who trained in a gym. (Colado et al. 2012).
  • One study showed that older adults who participated three times/week for eight weeks in shallow water exercises with resistant equipment had improved balance and core stability. (Katsura et al. 2009).
  • High intensity water exercise programs resulted in less inflammation, soreness and muscle damage compared to land high exercise programs (Robinson, et al. 2010).
  • A study done with hypertensive postmenopausal woman showed a decrease in systolic blood pressure with a 12-week water exercise program as compared with a control group (Arca et. al 2014).
  • A study done by Delvatti et al 2016, showed a significant decrease in the A1C levels of people with Type 2 Diabetes who participated in a 12-week water exercise program for 45 minutes 3 times a week.
  • Pool exercises are ideal for pre-natal and post-partum mothers, those dealing with heart disease, joint replacement and disabilities.


  • Always consult with a physician prior to starting any aerobic exercise.
  • Always warm up prior to exercise. Start slow and build up your endurance.
  • Have fun! The more fun we have with an activity the more consistent we will be doing it and reaping the rewards of improved health.


Resources to Water Facilities:



Archer S. The latest in water fitness: research update. IDEA Fitness Journal May 2017. loss


Daphne Baldwin Kornrich has been a registered dietitian nutritionist for 30 years, working in a wide variety of clinical and outpatient settings. She specializes in bariatrics and weight management.