Friday, 23 January 2015

Guest post - Misconceptions & Benefits of Aqua Aerobics

I love water. Being near it or in it brings me a feeling of calm. The combination of calming, healing water and exercise can only bring good feelings to the Anxiety sufferer. I was keen to learn more through Kaitlin Gardner of An Apple Per Day.

Any of my friends can tell you I love water workouts. I have never been much of a runner and for years, didn’t think about the pool when it came to exercise. Aqua aerobics changed all of that for me. I’ve heard some interesting misconceptions about working out in the water, and there are wonderful benefits as well.
Here are some great resources with more information about aqua aerobics:
The Misconceptions
You have to know how to swim. I have done a whole workout class and never gotten my shoulder length hair wet. Most of the exercises take place in water that is waist to chest deep at the most. You stand upright in the water for most of the workout, and even if you can’t swim, you are in a safe situation.
Aqua aerobics is only for seniors. I have to laugh when I hear this one. I usually mention that competitive runners, even those training for marathons, use aqua aerobics for cross training or to recover from an injury. A lot of us have seen those pictures of smiling seniors in the water with their arms in the air. If you go to an aqua kick boxing class, you’ll find a strenuous workout performed by people who are in great shape.
It’s not much of a workout. The water does provide a gentle, low impact workout solution. But in addition, it can give you all the cardio blast you need. Try an aqua Zumba class, and see if you’re not breathing hard really quickly. For me, a good aqua jogging session is comparable to a run on a park trail. I go to the pool when the lap lanes are open, and move up and down one with a good jogging motion. It’s a fantastic workout.
The Benefits
Heart health. In the water, a person’s heart rate is lower by 13 percent, which is about 17 beats per minute. That means I work my heart less than in the gym or out running, just because I’m in the water. It’s thought this effect is due to the lessened impact of gravity and the lower water temperature. The result is that I’m giving my heart a break, and still getting a good workout.
Excellent for stress relief. If I have a busy and stressful week, I go to the pool for an aqua tai chi or water yoga class. Doing slow and rhythmic movements in the gentle element of water guarantees that I will relax and stress will slide away. My husband can tell when I come back from one of those classes, by how relaxed I am.
A hot weather alternative. I used to get up super early in the summer to go run. It was not much fun, but it was my only choice, because it would be too hot later. I can go for a water workout in the middle of the day, and the cool water will make it a pleasant experience.
Tremendous variety. Because water workouts have become so popular, there are a great array of options to choose from. Aqua kick boxing, a group class for an overall workout, or just popping into the pool for a short session of treading water. I can find something challenging any time I like.
Gentle on the body. After years of running, my knees were particularly sensitive. Working out in the water is great for me, because of the low impact part. Since my body only has to support a fraction of its own weight because of buoyancy, I exercise with a lightness that my body really appreciates.
I smile when I walk in the house after a good session of aqua aerobics, because I’m keeping fit, but in a way that’s enjoyable for me.
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.