5 Reasons Underwater Treadmill Running Outperforms Land
Running underwater differs from land running in many ways. Studies have shown than aquatic running outperforms land running because it provides many of the same results as land running, but with even more benefit. The natural properties of water offer benefits unmatched on land.
Benefits of Running Underwater
Reduced risk of injury
The buoyancy of the water can decrease an individual’s body weight by up to 90%. Removing this amount of pressure from joints and muscles means that there is less wear and tear on the body. This allows for increased mileage for runners and athletes without compromising the body, resulting in reduced overuse injuries.
Increased muscle strength
Although running underwater is sometimes considered “easier” because your body is lighter, the viscosity of the water makes the work on your muscles “harder.” Since your body needs to push through the natural resistance of the water (or additional resistance through pool jets), it strengthens leg and foot muscles. It also requires more core strength to maintain proper positioning in the volatile water.
Improved circulation, decreased swelling and less pain
The hydrostatic pressure of the water supercharges the venous return process. This helps to quickly move excess waste and lactic acid from the muscles, which decreases swelling symptoms and muscle soreness.
Improved mental outlook
For those that have difficulty running on land or have hit a plateau in their training, underwater running can provide the extra motivation to keep going. Often, individuals are capable of doing more underwater than they can on land, whether it be exercising longer, harder or faster. Seeing the results in the water can motivate individuals to continue pushing themselves on land in order to accomplish what they are able to in the water.
Decreased perception of effort
Due to the combination of all of the properties of water, many individuals feel as though they are not working a hard as on land. Although their efforts may actually be producing greater results, the perception of effort is low, thanks to the added relaxation, reduced muscle soreness and weightlessness.
Supplementing a land routine with underwater treadmill running can improve your results and provide additional benefits such as those mentioned above. Many professional and collegiate athletes rely on aqua running as a portion of their training to improve their performance.