When I decided to add some cross training to my exercise routine, one of the guys in my running group suggested I try aqua aerobics. I was surprised, because this guy is super serious about his running. I decided to look into it, and I began to see how beneficial aqua aerobics can be.
So what is aqua aerobics? My first research was just to find out what exactly my buddy was talking about. Aqua aerobics is basically using the pool for other things besides swimming. I went and checked out a couple of classes at my gym, and I was surprised to see that they provided a well rounded exercise routine. The instructor had the class do some cardio moves like jumping jacks in the water, some ab work using a thing called a foam noodle, and even a couple of strength moves. I was pretty impressed. Here are a couple of sites I looked at to see what else might be available:
What’s so beneficial about the water? I discovered that the water provides two things that make aqua aerobics a great option – buoyancy and resistance. Because of the buoyancy provided by the water, the person’s body only has to support about 50 percent of its weight. When I do lunges on land, I land with a clunk that isn’t friendly to my knees. When I did them in the water, the impact was so much lighter that I could immediately tell the difference. The resistance provided by the water took me a while to appreciate. I took one of the group classes, and we did a move called flybacks, which in the gym requires a weight machine. In the water, we used only the water to push against, and I could really feel my arms work to move through the water.
A lot of variety. As I continued to explore, I found that there are a lot of options for water workouts. If I wanted a straight cardio routine, I could go aqua jogging. If I wanted some spice, I could take kick boxing or the really popular Zumba in the water (which I’m working up my courage to try). For meditation, there were tai chi and aqua yoga. I don’t know about you, but if I do just one exercise routine, over time it gets stale. By being able to vary my workout – sometimes just to fit my mood – I stay more engaged in exercise, and get more benefit from the process.
Exercise for all ages. I was aqua jogging at the community pool one day, when a young man powered by me in the next lane. I was shocked at how fast he was moving. He stopped about the same time I did, and I had to ask “What are you training for?” He laughed and said “my second marathon.” I began to appreciate why my serious running buddy had steered me to water workouts.
The social aspect. I used to go to the gym and do my workout alone, surrounded by people who also seemed to be in their own little world. Everyone was serious and just didn’t look all that excited to be there. One of the first things I noticed when I went to an aqua aerobics class was how much chatter and laughter there was. Once I got used to it, I joined in, and I’ve discovered that I really enjoy working out with a group. Over time, I’ve gotten to know people, the exercise time goes quickly, and because of that – I keep doing it. That’s a big plus for me.
I had someone ask me last week about aqua aerobics, and my short answer – “Try it, you’ll get hooked like I did.”
Becky Flanigan writes for AnApplePerDay.com, and her areas of expertise are kids and parenting, exercise and health. She is avid about her workouts, which have ranged from aqua jogging to marathon training. She and her husband Ed also enjoy entertaining, and taking vacations with their 3 kids.
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