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What is Deep Water Running and How to Do It

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If you are a runner, you have probably experienced an injury, muscle strain, or a pain in your joints and bones. This is a common occurrence in athletes. But what can you do when you need recovery from a sports injury? Deep water running may be the answer.

What is Deep Water Running

Deep water running, also called aqua jogging, involves a slow running in a swimming pool.  The pool is deep enough that your feet cannot touch the bottom. It is an excellent impact-free cross training for those looking for rehabilitation after an injury. This rehabilitation tool allows you to recover from injuries without losing your fitness. Not only does deep water running help you deal with an injury, but it can also help prevent injuries.

Unlike cycling versus working on an elliptical machine in the gym, the range of motion and muscles used during aqua jogging is almost the same as actual jogging/running. Deep water running has the same cardiovascular demands as if you were running on a hard surface at an easy to moderate pace.

Deep water running is also an effective alternative to outdoor running during the extremely humid and hot days. 

Who Should to Do It

Deep water running has become very popular in recent times. Although water running is most commonly used by athletes for sports injuries, it is also a popular fitness training method among other athletes too. That’s because aqua jogging is a great way to safely improve your fitness and running form, since it doesn’t burden the joints like running on a hard surface. By doing this when you get injured, you will be capable of maintaining your fitness for 4-6 weeks. That’s why many runners prefer water running to maintain their fitness.

Water provides an extra resistance because of its higher viscosity than the air, which means it is more difficult to move in the water than on dry land. The calories burned while doing deep water running are even greater than an ordinary run.   This makes it an excellent exercise for those looking to avoid weight gain while they take time off from their regular running routine.

Keep in mind that you mustn’t do aqua jogging with certain injuries, like those with a tense hip flexor as well as various knee and hip ailments.  If deep water running causes you pain, stop immediately and talk to your physical therapist or doctor to find another cross training activity that will be more suitable for you.

What Do You Need For Deep Water Running

All you need to have for deep water running is a swimming pool, swimsuit, and a special floatation belt or vest.

One of the most popular floatation belts for this purpose is the AquaJogger. This belt has straps that fix around your waist and is made of EVA foam that keeps your body on the water surface.  However, there are many other vests and buoyancy belts for water running.  All of them allow you to perform the running motions while keeping you afloat. 

It is very important to wear an appropriate flotation device while doing aqua jogging, because it helps you maintain good running biomechanics. If you don’t wear such a device, you will have to continuously do rapid stride turnovers and raise your knees high in order to stay afloat, which has negative effects on your running motions. Without a floating device, you will have to run with a “high knee” gait which demands more energy and is not proper running form. Floating belts allow you to have a “cross country” style of aqua jogging, where the feet push down and legs swing back at a larger angle, just as in a run on land. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you use a buoyancy belt or floating vest for this activity.

How to Do It

As any other cross-training activity, deep water running requires some practice and training, but after a few workouts in the pool, you will find it very enjoyable. Here’s how you should do it.

Start your workout with a warm-up by getting into the swimming pool and swim or just move gently for about three minutes.

Once you get into deep water, you should start simulating a real run by making the same motions you would do while jogging on a trail or when running on the treadmill.

You should practice pool running by using a more compact back kick and slightly higher knee lift compared to land running. This way you’ll remain upright in a pool and also perform a better sprinting workout. Pool running form is a little bit different from normal running posture on the ground, and therefore, you must learn some specific techniques to get the most out of your training. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t lean forward too much and do not hunch over.
  • Keep your body straight in order to stay tall in the water.
  • Try to lift your knees to a hip height and point your toes at the same time. Let your legs move you forward.
  • While keeping your shoulders back, try to swing your hands by bending them at about 90 degrees. Depending on the intensity of your workout, you need to swing your hands slower or faster as well as shorter or higher.
  • Keep your palms turned inward or loosely closed, because you should not paddle with your arms but instead slice through the water.
  • Make sure you look toward the horizon.

At last, you need to cool down after an aqua jogging workout. Take off your flotation belt/vest and swim slowly for about 2-3 minutes.

You might find it hard to do deep water running at first, but don’t give up! After a few workouts in the pool, it will feel as natural as training on dry land.

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