When it comes to working out in the pool, the people in my aqua aerobics class have various opinions about which exercises are the favorite or preferred to include in their “must do” list every week. While we all have differing opinions, the basic concept remains the same – aqua aerobics is a great way to stay fit.
Which class do you prefer? With aqua aerobics, you have a lot of choices. Some of my friends like classes at the more robust end of the spectrum – they go in for kick boxing or Zumba. Others like a more peaceful workout, and they gravitate toward tai chi or yoga. I like variety, so one time I might show up for kick boxing, and the next time feel like a weight workout, so I’ll go to that class. The nice thing about aqua classes – they don’t require much equipment, unlike the lineup of weight stations you have to work through at the gym. I just carry a foam noodle to class (I bought mine from intheswim.com) – and it takes care of the exercises where I need some support in the water, like when we do the plank.
Is straight cardio your choice? I was a runner for many years, until my knees started giving me problems. I really stressed about not being able to run, because it was my preferred way to get in a workout with max cardio effort. Then a guy in our running group suggested I try aqua jogging. I admit, I was a little skeptical at first. I didn’t think it would give me enough work to really burn my legs and get my heart rate up. I also admit – I was wrong. I was surprised at how strongly the water provided resistance in the pool. I could feel a burn after about 5 laps, and my breathing quickly fell into my running rhythm. Don’t forget to wear some old sneakers – I discovered that the bottom of the pool can be rough in spots, and I was pushing hard enough to scuff up my feet.
Low impact workouts. One real plus with aqua aerobics is the low impact element. I’ve heard that if you take into account the buoyancy of the water, it means that you only have to support about 50 percent of your weight while you work out. For me that translates to a gentle ride. I remember how much I felt the strain on my knees when I took a kick boxing class in the gym. In the water the impact is so much less that it’s very noticeable. I can go all the way through a kick boxing class, and not have to go home and take ibuprofen in case my knees swell. Even when I’m doing a strenuous workout, I’m calmer because of the soothing element of being in the water.
My suggestion is if you are wondering if you’ll like aqua aerobics – just give it a try. I think you’ll quickly become a fan.
Becky Flanigan was an English major in college, and now enjoys writing freelance articles for Intheswim.com. Becky has a great time on family weekend trips with her husband, 3 kids, and 2 golden retrievers. She spends many happy hours at the family swimming pool, watching the kids and dogs splash around. She is also an avid gardener– and even helps friends landscape and decorate their yards.
Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net