Does Aqua Running Provide the Same Fitness Results as Running on Land?

Does Aqua Running Provide the Same Fitness Results as Running on Land?

Aqua running is a method of running training that is quickly gaining popularity and momentum with world-class running athletes and their coaches. Also known as deep water running, aqua running offers a number of benefits that can’t be obtained from land running.

The Benefits

Studies have shown that aqua running can help build speed, endurance and leg strength, while minimizing the impact of running on dry land. It’s been shown to help reduce the amount of injuries that world-class runners experience during a competitive season. Additionally, with an indoor pool, unlike dry land running, it can be done in comfort all year long. And besides the pool, there really is no equipment required except a swim suit.

Studies have shown that you can get an excellent water running workout in less than an hour. Water running is also an excellent therapeutic workout that's great for use in rehabilitation programs after injuries. If you want the aerobic benefits of running, but your body won’t be able to handle the impact of running, deep water or shoulder level contact aqua running is just what you need. Aqua running is also excellent if you are trying to lose weight, since water activities burn large quantities of calories.

The Styles

There are actually two different main types of aqua running: feet touching and non-feet touching. The difference between them is that in the feet touching, or pool bottom contact type, you will run with your feet in contact with the bottom of the pool. You can run in waist-deep or shoulder-deep water. With the non-feet touching, or non-contact type, you will be running suspended in high water and wearing a waist flotation device designed to help keep you in the proper position and your head above the water.

How to Water Run Properly

No matter which type of water running you want to do, proper ergonomics is essential to prevent injury. You will run with your shoulders directly in line with and above your hips. You will also want to tilt your pelvis forward and up. Because of the resistance imparted by the water, most people want to use choppy strides resembling running in place. This is wrong. Maintain your dry land running form with long strides and proper follow through. Also, make sure you use proper arm swing, as you would on dry land.

Sample Aqua Running Workout

OK, you’re saying “Great, aqua running sounds like a really effective workout, but now I need to design a workout routine for it.” That’s fairly easy, even though you can’t do distances, unless you’re using one of the bottom contact forms. If this is the case, you can do two hard laps, as fast and hard as you can, then an easy lap and repeat the process for a total of 20 laps. With either contact or non-contact, you can do interval training, where you run flat out for 30 seconds to a minute, then slow down to half speed for fifteen seconds and repeat.