For people who have access to a swimming pool, but don’t want to swim, aqua aerobics offers a wonderful exercise alternative. Imagine being able to do a workout routine similar to the one you’d go through in the gym, but buoyed up by the lightness of water! It’s a wonderful experience.
Do I have to know how to swim? Many of the exercises are performed in water that is waist to chest deep, where the person is standing up in the water. In fact, a person can do a quality workout without ever getting their hair wet. For example, consider aqua jogging – a person goes to the swimming pool when the lap lanes are open. Most lap lanes vary from waist to chest deep. The person moves up and down the lanes with a good jogging posture, and never has to go underwater. Here are some great sites with information about the exercises available in the water:
What makes the water so good for a workout? Have you ever been in a workout class where they do lunges? In this exercise you start standing straight up, then lunge forward with one leg, go back to the starting position, then lunge with the other leg. In the water, it’s much more gentle on the knees. Water provides buoyancy, which means that it significantly reduces a person’s body weight, so the lunge has a much more gentle landing that doesn’t jar the knees. The other substantial impact of water is resistance – this means that it takes more effort to force through the water, providing a solid workout routine, while being soothed by the water.
It’s like being at the gym. The range of exercises that a person can do in the water is very similar to what is available at the gym. One thing to help someone decide what exercises they would like in the water is to ask – what do you like to do at the gym? If you like the treadmill, aqua jogging is very similar. If you like a peaceful workout like a tai chi or yoga class – those can be performed in the water. For a more strenuous exercise routine, consider kick boxing or the really popular Zumba. Combine the exercises from the gym with the lightness and buoyancy of the water, and you have a great workout that is very gentle on the body.
Try an aqua aerobics class. If you’d like to experience water workouts with some guidance to get started – try a class. An instructor will guide you through a series of exercises, starting with a warmup, some strength work, core or ab work, and some solid leg exercises. The great part – if you get off balance, your body is mostly underwater, so nobody can see. Plus, the people in water classes are typically super friendly, so they’ll help guide you on how to do new exercises.
What if I don’t want a group workout? There are a lot of exercises someone can do by themselves, if they have access to a pool. For some excellent ab work, place a towel on the side of the pool, put your arms on it while facing the water. Then just pull your legs up to your chest, and then let them relax and fall back down, for a great ab exercise. For a great cardio burst, just get in waist deep water and try aqua walking back and forth across the pool.
The way to get started with aqua aerobics – do a little research, then give a few things a try. You’ll soon find an exercise program that works for you, and have a lot of fun in the process!
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photo credit: Marko Rosic