If you're looking for an intense, non-weight-bearing exercise that works just about every muscle in your body, look no further than the deep end of your neighborhood pool. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes treading water can be a vigorous workout that burns more than 7 calories per minute; add in the muscle-conditioning benefits and lack of impact, and treading water provides a great workout by any definition.
Your actual calorie burn while treading water depends on a couple of factors -- primarily your body weight and how intense an effort you're making. For example, Harvard Health Publications estimates that a 125-pound person will burn about 300 calories in 30 minutes of vigorously treading water, while a 185-pound person will burn about 444 calories during the same activity.
Your workout intensity matters, too; the more effort you put into your workout, the more calories you'll burn. But one of the arguable beauties of treading water is that there's no way to slack. If you don't move vigorously enough to keep yourself afloat, you'll have no option but to move back to the shallow end of the pool.
Because the water supports your body weight completely, treading water produces no impact; this makes it an ideal workout for pregnant women, those with joint problems that make weight-bearing exercise difficult, or high-impact exercisers like runners who want a break from pounding, high-impact workouts.
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