When you hear deep water running, you might picture women doing water aerobics or using pool dumbells with high-knee stepping exercises in the pool. That's not the kind of deep water running we're talking about on today's episode of A Healthy Bite.
This low-impact exercise is not the aqua jogging class you've seen at the local gym, and it's not aqua aerobics. Most of all, it's not just for seniors or injured athletes, although both groups will benefit.
Fluid Running is a system created by Jennifer Conroyd that mimics true land running and incorporates the same movements you'd see a runner performing. Arms pumping and legs moving in a sweeping motion, no high-knees. Imagine marathon runners, only picture them in deep water.
Feet do not touch the pool floor, so zero impact. The upper body remains above the water, lower body submerged. Arms are not floating out to the sides, but instead are pumping in true runner fashion, and not just treading water.
A flotation device that you can tether to the side of the pool or a lane rope is secured around your waist. Guided exercises (which can be considered a “run” for runners) are delivered via Bluetooth earbuds via an app. The workouts are all performed in the deep end of the swimming pool.
Fluid running, or deep water running, truly is “going for a run” only in deep water as opposed to hitting the pavement. Each workout consists of a warm-up, workout with music, and cool-down.
The system was created as a training method for injured runners who needed a break from running on dry land but wanted to maintain their current fitness level. (Make sure you listen to the podcast to hear Jennifer's story.)
Aqua Jogging vs. Fluid Running
While fluid running in deep water may appear similar to aqua jogging, it is a very different type of exercise. Both require a flotation belt and water, but the movements are very different.
Fluid running is always performed in deep water and doesn't require weights or pool dumbells that prohibit proper arm swing. Where you work out could be the deep end of a pool or even a lake.
Running in the deep end allows you to run faster and is zero impact as it is completely non-weight-bearing. Fluid running is science-backed and mimics the biomechanics of normal running.
While performing these exercises, you are taught how to remain in one place without the need to run back and forth across the pool so that it can be performed in a small space. A bonus for those who need to use public pools.
Articles often describe aqua jogging as a form of cross-training. Fluid Running mimics land running form so it counts as a run, but better. Deep water running gives you all of the benefits of land running plus the added advantage of engaging your core, stabilizer muscles, shoulders, and arms which are all forced to work hard when running in deep water. Fluid Running for an hour, keeping your heart rate in the same zone (adjusted for hydrostatic pressure) counts the same as running for an hour on land.
Benefits of Deep Water or Pool Running
First, many injured runners have used fluid running to keep up their training program while recovering. Beyond that, it beats treadmill running and even the elliptical to deliver a high-intensity workout with zero impact.
Whether you are dealing with sore muscles, injury, osteoarthritis, lymphedema, POTS, fibromyalgia or other forms of inflammation, getting in the water might be your best bet. Learn how the properties found in deep water such as buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, and viscosity (resistance) can help you.
- Reduces Inflammation
- Mimics Land Running
- Minimizes Pain
- Helps Flush Toxins
- Total Body Workout
- Strengthens Cardiovascular System
- Burns Calories
- Better Running Performance on Land
Deep water running also allows you to exercise for longer periods of time, thus increasing stamina and endurance. “Deep-water running maximal heart rate and oxygen consumption values have been consistently shown to be lower than those found during treadmill running.”
Fluid running is the only app-based deep water running system in the world. No personal trainer or physical therapist required.
Flushing out toxins and reducing pain associated with acute or chronic inflammation is just one of the many benefits of Fluid Running and aquatic exercise. Increased mobility, weight loss, and emotional and physical wellbeing are added benefits that can significantly improve overall quality of life. There’s nothing to lose but your pain by trying Fluid Running or other water-based exercises.
Burn more calories because running in deep water burns 30-40% more calories than running on land because water is 800 times denser than air. Water running uses your arm muscles more than running on land!
Who Can Benefit From Deep Water Running
Anyone can benefit from aerobic fitness, and deep water running delivers a good workout that will definitely get your heart rate up. In particular, deep water running is an excellent form of zero-impact exercise for:
- Injured Athletes
- Those with Osteoarthritis
- Lower Body Pain
- For weight-loss
Best for Cross-Training
Doing multiple types of exercises (cross-training) is the best way to have a welll-rounded fitness routine and an overall conditioned body. Because fluid running engages core strength and stabilizer muscles, it is an excellent method for cross-training.
Cross-training is important for everyone, not just athletes. Jennifer mentioned in the podcast interview that most people do these workouts two to three times per week. Those who have always wanted to be a runner but have trouble getting started because of impact stress, joint pain, or soreness can use this method to start running.
Whether you are a runner, were a runner, or want to be a runner, Fluid Running is a great workout for you. Running in deep water builds strength, cardio, and endurance without the wear and tear on your joints. In so doing, you will be able to train harder and run longer without pain.
It's always best to include a few different types of exercise, movement, or methods when possible, especially weight-bearing exercises, as they are important for strengthening and building bone. However, if you are someone who can't do exercises at all due to injury, etc., deep water running is an excellent choice and will allow you to reap the benefits of a workout without the impact.
Watch the video version of this interview and subscribe to my YouTube Channel here.
Meet Todays Guest Jennifer Conroyd
Jennifer Conroyd is the quintessential momtrepreneur. A certified fitness trainer, she founded Fluid Running in 2010 after an injury left her unable to run in preparation for the 2010 Chicago Marathon. She ran exclusively in deep water for the six weeks leading up to the race, and not only finished that marathon, but qualified for the Boston Marathon.
Jennifer, a graduate of Miami University, certified personal trainer, and mom of three adult boys, wanted a way for everyone to stay active without the risk of injury. She is an accomplished athlete, having completed the Ironman and has run 16 marathons, qualifying for the Boston Marathon 15 times. Jennifer resides in Chicago and was named a finalist for the 2018 Women in Tech Founders award.
The Path to Product Development
Jennifer met Mike Lambert, a technologist and digital marketer in a co-working space during a weekly entrepreneur lunch. Jennifer’s inspiring story prompted Mike to share his idea about using an app to deliver classes instead of instructors. Within a month, they had people testing out a prototype, and six months later, the product was complete. Fluid Running offers in-person classes in the Chicago area, however, the program is available for purchase in Canada and The United States.
Jennifer Conroyd is a Fitness Professional working directly with athletes, doctors, and physical therapists to promote the benefits of deep water running as a means to accelerating recovery and maintain fitness during injury. Supported by extensive research as well as personal experience, Jennifer brings passion and knowledge to her presentations.
She is the founder of Fluid Running, the only company in the U.S. to develop a method to teach proper deep-water running and offer app-based deep water running workouts.
Jennifer is a graduate of Miami University, an A.C.E. certified personal trainer, and USA Track and Field certified coach. She has worked individually with hundreds of clients helping them maintain and even improve their fitness while injured.
a personal note from rebecca
I downloaded the Fluid Running App, signed up at the nearest Health and Fitness Center and started watching the videos. My first attempt at deep water running was successful. I'll add an update to this post after I have a few more sessions under my belt (my flotation belt that is!) to let you know how it's going.
Along with the complete system, I downloaded the “Run with a Pro” workout because it included sprints. If you haven't already, join the Healthologist Community, we'd love to chat with you about your health and fitness goals.
Killgore GL. Deep-water running: a practical review of the literature with an emphasis on biomechanics. Phys Sportsmed. 2012 Feb;40(1):116-26. DOI: 10.3810/psm.2012.02.1958. PMID: 22508258.