Underwater treadmills have been used to rehabilitate injuries, as in the case of NFL player RGIII of the Washington Redskins. Running on an underwater treadmill can enable runners to add extra mileage without the shock to joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons. This extra compliment to training is a great way to build cardiovascular strength.
A study done by the University of Texas A&M examined the efficacy of water treadmill training for overweight and obese adults and concluded that using an underwater treadmill was as beneficial as running on a land treadmill. The study showed that running on an underwater treadmill improved aerobic fitness and body composition for inactive and overweight individuals. Interestingly, underwater treadmills were seen to increase lean muscle mass in the legs at a greater rate compared to running on a land treadmill. Another study concluded that underwater treadmill running was a viable alternative to maintaining cardiovascular fitness without the demands of running on land.
Benefits of an under water treadmill
- Maintains or enhances performance
- Reduces the risk of injuries since there is less stress on the body
- Used as a rehabilitation tool for injury
- Adds extra mileage without the shock to joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons.
This technology is still relatively new. Finding an underwater treadmill in your area may require some diligence and research on your part. The benefits of running underwater however may make the search more than worth it.
References from the SIRC Collection:
1. Brubaker P, Ozemek C, Gonzalez A, Wiley S, Collins G. Cardiorespiratory Responses During Underwater and Land Treadmill Exercise in College Athletes. Journal Of Sport Rehabilitation. August 2011;20(3):345-354.
2. Denning W, Bressel E, Dolny D, Bressel M, Seeley M. A Review of Biophysical Differences Between Aquatic and Land-Based Exercise. International Journal Of Aquatic Research & Education. February 2012;6(1):46-67.
3. Hall J, Macdonald I, Maddison P, O'Hare J. Cardiorespiratory responses to underwater treadmill walking in healthy females. European Journal Of Applied Physiology & Occupational Physiology. February 1998;77(3):278-284.
4. HUTCHINSON A. Go Low Impact. Runner's World. October 2013;49(10):38.
5. Schaal C, Collins L, Ashley C. Cardiorespiratory Responses to Underwater Treadmill Running Versus Land-Based Treadmill Running. International Journal Of Aquatic Research & Education. February 2012;6(1):35-45.
6. Stevens S, Morgan D. Guest Editorial. Underwater treadmill training in adults with incomplete spinal cord injuries. Journal Of Rehabilitation Research & Development. October 2010;47(7):vii-xi.