I love aqua aerobics – just ask any of my friends. I started after a knee injury while running, and my doctor recommended I give it a rest. One of the men in my running group suggested I try aqua aerobics. Water workouts are now a standard part of my exercise routine.
So what is aqua aerobics? Since I don’t swim much, I had ignored the pool for many years. Then I learned that there were a lot of other options for water workouts. In the gym, you’re trying to get your heart rate up, and provide a cardiovascular benefit for your workout. Aqua aerobics is doing the same thing, only in the water. The bonus is that the water provides buoyancy, making workouts easier on the joints, particularly the knees. Water also means an extra source of resistance – it takes extra work to push your body through the water. Here are some great resources with more information:
I have used a lot of different water workouts, but below are 5 of my favorites. They aren’t ranked in any order, and all are great workout options.
1) Aqua jogging. I get in the pool when the lap lanes are open, and begin moving up and down a lane with my best jogging posture. It doesn’t take long for me to feel my breathing escalate, and for my body to feel the effect of resistance. I will go for as long as I can, and then rest, and go again, kind of like running intervals. I wear worn out old tennis shoes to protect my feet, and keep a water bottle at the end of the lane, to stay hydrated.
2) Kick boxing. If I’ve had a busy, hectic and sometimes frustrating week, a kick boxing class is in order to bleed off some steam. If you think punching and kicking is tough and tiring – try doing them in the water. It will wear you out pretty quickly. The class is usually taught by a trainer who looks like they could kick all day. By the end of the workout, if I was on land and in a t-shirt, I know it would be soaked. But I sure feel better afterward.
3) Weight workout. As part of a solid cross training regimen, weight training is great. In the water, weight work is just as strenuous as at the gym, but a little more friendly on the joints due to the buoyancy. I use water weights, and perform similar exercises to the ones I would at the gym. If I do a bicep curl in the water, the effort is much greater, given that I’m having to push that weight up through the dense water. I started with a class to see how to perform weight work in the water, and it really helped.
4) Aqua yoga. Since I’ve been a runner for years, my flexibility is not all it needs to be. It helps me if I blend in some stretching work, and yoga is great for that. I go to a class, and all you hear is the quiet sounds of the teacher, and the lapping of the water, so it is really soothing, but I can feel the burn and stretch every time I walk out of class.
5) Group workout. Sometimes I just want someone to tell me what to do. A group class led by an instructor ensures that I will get a well rounded workout, which challenges both my arms and legs, and gives me a wonderful cardio component. People are very friendly, and I feel a lot better when I leave.
When someone asks about aqua aerobics, I suggest they just try it, and they’ll soon find out why I love it so much.
Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.