When many of us think about aqua fitness, we either envisage long, arduous hours of swimming endless lengths or having a splash around in the kiddies pool with our families whilst on holiday. In reality, aqua fitness is an incredibly diverse sport, and its positive effects are celebrated by physicians, personal trainers and people of all ages and abilities around the world.
Individuals that train in water experience a much more effective workout compared to that of a similar routine on land. With water being 800 times denser than air, jogging in the pool can burn up to 11.5 calories per minute, compared to the 8 calories that would be burnt on dry land. An intense aqua aerobics class can burn up to 680 calories in an hour.
When we are submerged up to our shoulders, water places an upward force on our bodies and reduces our weight by up 50-90%, making aqua fitness a great option for those that need a low-impact workout. Individuals that are recovering from injury, or pregnant, benefit greatly from water-based exercise. The versatility found in the world of aqua fitness also means that many of the workouts typically done in the gym, including weight lifting, can be effectively replicated in the pool.
The natural resistance water provides enables us to build up our cardiovascular stamina, strength, and flexibility. The buoyancy and cooler temperatures of the water lower our heart rate, and allow our body to burn fat through an increase in blood circulation.
For those that suffer from chronic illnesses like arthritis, water-based exercises have been known to improve the use of joints without worsening their symptoms. Regular aquatic exercise has also been shown to have a positive effect on an individual’s mental health by decreasing anxiety, improving mood, and improving self-confidence.
SPECIALITY NEEDS-BASED CLASSES
Individuals who suffer from aquaphobia are reassured through a series of techniques designed to overcome anxiety, associate water with positive emotions, and develop swimming skills.
Classes include mild hydro massages that are beneficial to the skin, helping to avoid varicose veins, cellulite and stretch marks. The classes focus on strengthening back, pelvic and abdominal muscles.
Swimming stimulates the brain and can help individuals to increase their strength and mobility, improving their balance and enabling them to become more adaptable when faced with new activities.
The goal of these classes is to help the individual’s body adapt to different physical activities, relieving mental and emotional tension. Exercises are catered for the individual, helping them to rebuild muscles, sooth injuries, and alleviate pain.
Targeted exercises help the body to absorb nutrients, and can aid the individual with exchange and excretion.
Slow, incremental activities focus on improving the activity levels and overall health of the individual.
Targeted exercises help the body to rebuild and return to optimum function.
Hydrotherapy is used to improve elasticity and firmness, whilst improving blood circulation and lymphatic drainage.
AQUA FITNESS TIPS
Spend a few minutes in waist-deep water stretching, walking and swinging your arms before you begin your workout. Gradually increase the intensity of movement until you are warmed up and ready to begin.
Explore different workouts
From aqua jogging to kickboxing, Zumba to tai chi, aerobics to yoga, versatility is key to aqua fitness. If you find that you do not enjoy a specific class or activity, try out a few different ones to discover which one works for you.
Drink water before, during, and after your workout to ensure you stay properly hydrated. Due to the lower temperature of pool water, it can be difficult to know if you are in danger of dehydration.
Spread out your workouts
Dividing workouts evenly throughout the week will build up endurance more effectively than compressing your fitness programme into a day or two. Exercising too long or intensely can increase the risk of injury.
Take your time and enjoy yourself
Exercising in the water is fun, but it can be difficult to know if you are overexerting yourself at the beginning. Build up your stamina gradually, listen to your body, and stop before you feel sore or extremely tired.
The wonderful thing about aqua fitness is that can truly benefit everyone. If you are interested in finding out more about its positive effects, or would like to enquire about one of our classes, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Natalie Weekes is a freelance writer currently based in Nova Scotia, Canada. With a background in Marine Biology, her passions lie in sustainability, conservation, health and education. When she is not outside in nature, she can usually be found creating things, researching, and connecting with others around the world. Tweet @TheLostMollusc.