See someone running up and down in a swimming pool and you may automatically think they are rehabilitating an injury. The actual irony in this assumption is that some podiatrists do not actually recommend aqua jogging for injuries such as achilles or plantar fascia due to the plantar flexion shortening the tendon chain.
For ‘healthy’ runners Aqua Jogging provides a number of benefits…
As mentioned in this post it is important to focus on knee lift rather than pushing off the ground. In the water, with no rebound off the ground and no calf engagement, the runner must focus on lifting the knee themselves developing the requisite strength and nerve pathways.
Glute Medius and TFL
Poor strength and/or engagement of the Glute Medius or TFL (Tensor Faciae Latae) can result in knees dropping in when running and aggravation of the ITB. Concentrating on lifting the knee in a straight line against the resistance of the water assists in the strengthening and ‘switch on’ of these muscles.
Zero Impact Intervals
High intensity anaerobic intervals release Erythropoiten (increasing Red Blood Cells) and Adiponectin & Catecholamine (Releasing of fatty acids). The aqua environment provides a zero impact, high resistance environment for more easily hitting anaerobic intervals without impact allowing people to both increase hematocrit (a measure of base fitness) and burn fat.
Often when running perception as to where the feet, hands, elbows are is incorrect as there is nothing providing feedback as to where they are relative to the body. The resistance of the water against the skin provides this awareness providing a useful tool for correcting technique and becoming aware of the position on long levers such as the hands and feet.
Next time you dont feel like running outside or hitting the treadmill consider an aqua running session – you will be surprised how tough it actually is!