Whether you’re looking for a cross-training option to add to your regular exercise routine or a whole different workout routine, give aqua aerobics a try. It’s a fun way to stay in shape, or a great way to start working out so you don’t get discouraged and give up your desire to exercise. There are many advantages to aqua aerobics:
Lots of choices
Most people visualize aqua aerobics as a group of people standing in the water and waving their arms around. True enough as far as that image goes, but the real fun of working out in the water is all the choices available these days. If you’re feeling adventurous, try aqua Zumba, or maybe kickboxing.
You get the advantage of the complicated workout routines, with the cushioning of the water to keep you from falling off balance. Or if you’d like a more quiet, meditative routine, try yoga or tai chi in the water, and let the soothing water add a wonderful component to your exercise time. Yes, aqua jogging can be a solid cardio workout – more work than runners would expect when they first try it. Weight workouts can be performed in the water, without needing a lot of equipment to get a great burn.
The fun component
In addition to the variety of exercises, working out in the water seems to provide a fun component for people – which encourages people to stay with it. In aqua aerobics classes, people take the exercise seriously and try to get in a good workout routine, they just have a lot of fun doing it. Between sets, or even sometimes during an exercise, people will laugh and joke and just enjoy themselves. Trying a complicated balancing exercise in the water that you’d hesitate to try on land for fear of falling, there’s a lot of fun to see who can maintain the position the longest, and laughter when someone gets off balance – laughing with, not at – because everyone will lose the pose eventually. Maybe it’s the water, but there sure does seem to be a lot of fun going on in the water.
The biggest advantage of working out in the water is the low impact component. Runners in particular take to aqua aerobics either during recovery from an injury or as a cross-training element of their regular routines. Knees and joints that have suffered from miles of pounding on the roads or trails get a real break working out in the water. While the cardio component remains high, the lower impact makes running through the water a great recovery tool. Is the cardio really that good? Runners with injuries who have used aqua aerobics for a lengthy period of time report no loss of condition when they return to the trail.
Getting in shape or staying in shape
Yes, for the person new to exercise, aqua aerobics is a great way to start. With the low impact aspect, and the water cushioning against falls while trying new exercises, the beginner is well served by working out in the water. For the person who exercises regularly but wants to try something different, a fast-paced kickboxing class will keep their heart rate up, work muscles in a different way than the normal workout routine, and give all the health benefits of working out on land.
Though aqua aerobics is sometimes regarded as a low impact alternative, but not for people serious about getting a great burn, that perception is changing. As more people try all the aqua aerobics options now available, they discover wonderful health benefits and a great workout routine that is easy on the joints.
How Aqua Aerobics Can Help Prevent Injuries
One of the guys in my running group first told me about aqua aerobics. He said he used it for cross-training, and had first run across water exercises when he got plantar fasciitis and couldn’t run for a while. I was trying to run more and was feeling it in my knees, so I decided to add in some aqua workouts for cross-training. Boy, was I glad I did that!
I did the first basic class to see what it was all about, and I could tell very quickly how much the water had an effect. The instructor told us that because of the buoyancy of the water, we were only having to support 50 percent of our body weight. I could tell when she had us do lunges. When I do those on land, my knees always protest a little bit. But in the water, the impact of the foot plant was so gentle that it was hardly noticeable. She had us jog in place for a few minutes, and it really got my heart rate up, but once again, the impact was so gentle it was very apparent – especially in contrast to the pounding on my joints from the running trail.
Aqua jogging for cardio
I wanted to focus on keeping my wind, so I went to the pool when the lap lanes were open to trying jogging in the water. I wore old tennis shoes, as suggested by the other runner, to keep the rough surface on the bottom from scuffing my feet. I was comfortable running a couple of miles on the trail at that point, so I thought I’d knock off a mile or two in the water. I had to revise my goal downward. I hadn’t taken into account the resistance of the water – it was substantial. I was in chest-deep water and had to lean like I was sprinting to keep moving. I was winded after 25 laps and felt like I’d had a great workout. But the thing I hadn’t expected was how peaceful the water would make me – the soothing feel of the water really added something to the workout.
A variety of options
My local gym has classes available for aqua exercise that cover a wide range – there are classes for yoga, tai chi, weight work, kickboxing and Zumba. I wasn’t ready for the sexy moves of Zumba, so I tried kickboxing. I figured it would be a great cardio workout, with some arm and leg work. Have you ever tried to kick something while you’re in the water? Talk about putting a burn on your thighs. Cardio – oh yes, it was awesome for that. I was breathing really hard after about 10 minutes, and except for a couple of short breaks, the sweet little trainer had us working hard the whole hour. Of course, she looked like she could work out all day.
I’m sold on aqua aerobics. To give my sore knees a rest from running, and to add cross-training elements to my weekly workouts – I feel like I just found a valuable training option.