By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)—More and more athletes are turning to a cardiovascular workout that’s easy on the legs and helps to bounce back from injuries more quickly.

Former baseball player Matt Gilbert has aches and pains when working out. So he’s turning to a lower impact, high resistance training by using a treadmill that’s underwater.

“You’re basically using all your extremities to go as fast as you can and you’re fighting against the treadmill just see what you can get out of your body,” said Gilbert.

The motion mimics running on dry land.

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“You can work in three planes of motion, you can work forward, laterally and rotationally, you can run jump, you can do squats lunges,” said athletic director Russ Romano.

Muscles work harder running through water that’s kept at around 90 degrees to promote flexibility.

“When you’re walking on the underwater treadmill at shoulder level, your knee joint is seeing only 25 percent of the force versus 100 percent of your full body weight,” said Dr. Rick Hatch, with the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

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Doctors say athletes and patients with joint and sports injuries can recover weeks or even months faster using the underwater treadmill.  It’s also effective for people with arthritis.

Gilbert needed just 15 minutes to get a good workout without the soreness.

Water treadmills are expensive, but you can find them at some health clubs.

As an alternative, there are foam vests you can wear in a pool specifically designed for water jogging or use foam barbells to help keep you afloat.

 

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