Here’s the deal: Most people think of “real” aerobics as some form of running, walking, a fitness class or swimming. Well, these types of exercises are definitely aerobic in nature, but what about jumping around in the water with purple hand weights that float?
Can you guess what it is?
Last week, while swimming laps inspired by a Michael Phelps marathon on the Olympic channel, I suddenly found the water illuminated by many bright one-piece bathing suits. After a short amount of time, I ran out of real estate and found the pool taken over by water aerobisizers. It was amazing to see and got me thinking; how effective can this truly be? What will research tell us? Before digging deeper, let’s first start with the basic benefits.
Benefits of Water Aerobics & Aquatic Fitness
Well, it’s called water aerobics for the obvious reasons. It’s definitely not as popular as the other exercise forms mentioned above, as you need to have access to a swimming pool. However, on the other hand, aquatic fitness is a very effective way to exercise in a low impact environment. This means that you can give your heart a very good workout while not injuring your joints in anyway.
One of the only downsides of regular aerobic exercise is the potential of joint problems or injuries. This is caused by the constant wearing of the joints on hard surfaces (such as the hard pavement when running or foot stamping in an aerobics class).
The problem is that as people age their joints are much more susceptible to injury. If this could be an issue for you, water aerobics is a great way to keep exercising while remaining injury and pain free. If you have access to a swimming pool, or you see water aerobics classes advertised in your local area, then you should certainly think about attending at least one class. Why?
Well, this will give you a sense of what happens during the class and you can decide if you enjoy it or not.
Additionally, water aerobics lets you exercise all parts of your body during a single workout. You will be exercising in water that is waist high. In some cases, you may go toward the deeper end of the pool so that water comes up to your chest. This helps to add more resistance and make the exercises a little more difficult.
What Research Found About Water Aerobics
With no surprise, I was able to find a ton of research about how useful aquatic exercises are for clients with injuries, senior citizens and how helpful it is when aiding in the recovery process. There were tons of studies involving these special populations, but I wanted to know how it would work for someone who is perfectly healthy or even fit.
What I found was really pretty exciting. Water aerobics and other pool movements are sufficient enough to elicit training adaptations with both healthy individuals and athletes. In other words, it’s an effective exercise method for just about everybody. Who would have thought those little purple weights could be so good at their job?
Aquatic Fitness is More than just Water Aerobics
You can perform most exercise routines in water. You can do anything from jogging on the spot to throwing punches under water. You will quickly see how effective aquatic fitness can be once you perform these exercises for a few minutes.
You can also use a number of pieces of exercise equipment. You can use balls, weights, bands and other things in order to make your fitness session fun and enjoyable. Adding extra pieces of equipment will make the movements a little harder and will ensure that you hit all of the major muscle groups.
Don't know where to start? There are basic water aerobic classes that you can take to get used to exercising in water, or you can go at it alone starting with knee bends, jumping, arm resistance exercises, kicking and so on. There are a number of games that you can play in water also. "Marco", now you say "pollo". Swimming alone is one more great exercise and it has very little impact on the joints.
In summary, water aerobics is a fun activity that you should consider doing. It’s perfect for anyone concerned about their bone or joints health or who just enjoys being in the water.
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