Combine the buoyancy and resistance of water with the physical benefits of running for a powerful workout that is easy on your joints. Here’s a run down of the best underwater treadmills.
Whether you are trying to get back in shape, stay in shape, or you are bouncing back from an injury, training on an underwater treadmill has a myriad of benefits.
Walking or running in the water replicates on-land movement and gives nearly identical aerobic and cardiovascular benefits without the strain and heavy pounding on your joints. The increase in resistance (some treadmills use water jets to increase resistance further) makes you work even harder compared to trying to slice through the air on dry land.
The benefit of using an underwater treadmill for athletes is primarily being able to load up on mileage without the wear and tear normally associated with running on pavement. Elite runners and triathletes regularly use an underwater treadmill to boost their weekly training, as well as a tool for lighter, recovery-based runs.
On the importance of using a water treadmill, Alberto Salazar, who coaches elite runners Galen Rupp and Mo Farah, says,
“We don’t consider it an alternative to running outside. We consider it as important as running outside. It helps us become stronger by running against the resistance of the water and it helps us recover from our dry land training.”
For those coming back from injury, the underwater treadmill allows you to walk or run at your own pace without placing undue pressure, strain and shock on muscles, ligaments and joints.
Much like how swimming can be an invigorating and easy-on-the-joints form of exercise, water walking (with a buoyancy belt) or running on an underwater treadmill gives you a way back into regular movement and exercise without worsening injuries.
While the benefits are obvious, the set-up is a little tricky.
While some physical therapists and university athletic therapy departments will have underwater treadmills (usually a freestanding tub with jets for more resistance and adjustable water depth), for the rest of us there are freestanding underwater treadmills that you can drop into a backyard pool.
Here is a rundown of some of the best underwater treadmills.
Aqua Creek AquaJogg Treadmill
The Aqua Creek AquaJogg is light, easy to maneuver, and can be used with or without pool shoes. Whether you are using it for an individual class, or in a group setting, the AquaJogg has rollers that won’t mark up the tiled pool deck or the pool floor when being moved.
- The unit is okay for chlorine, bromine and even salt-water pools.
- Total shipping weight of the unit is 58 pounds, and it can accommodate users up to 330 pounds.
- Scratch-free wheels on the unit make it easy to wheel around
- Two year warranty on all metal components of the treadmill, with a six month warranty on the wearing parts.
PoolTrekking Miami Underwater Treadmill
- Covered with a two-year warranty
- Recommended for ozone or chlorine treated pools. The manufacturer doesn’t recommend use in salt water pools. The treadmill is coated with marine grade stainless steel
- Adjustable incline for added difficulty
Aquasizer Underwater Treadmill
- Weighs 62 pounds when fully assembled.
- Safe to remain in the pool year round.
- Wheels on the bottom of the unit, making it easy to move into the pool.
How deep should I place my underwater treadmill?
Depends on how much impact you want to place on your legs. Waist-deep water reduces the body’s weight by about half, while water to your chest will reduce impact to approximately 75% of the impact on your knees, ankles and hips. Bouncing back from injury? Start with a deeper water placement to help you get back into the swing of things quicker without risking re-injury.
Does the pool temperature matter?
It can play a role. Most free-standing water running tubs are temperature-controlled, which can help to reduce edema and inflammation. Ultimately, the pool temperature where you use the aqua treadmill should be comfortable.
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