You have probably have tried all kinds of exercise over the years. You may have tried CrossFit, pilates, tae bo, boot camp, but found that none of them were a good fit for you. Perhaps it is time to give water aerobics a try. It offers many benefits for people of all ages and fitness levels.
In water aerobics, your workouts are performed in a swimming pool. They can be done in either shallow or deep water, generally shoulder deep or less. In a water aerobics class, the instructor leads the class in a variety of exercises, including knee lifts, jumping jacks, jogging in place and many others. Water barbells, aquatic ankle or wrist weights, kick boards or pool noodles may be used to make the workout more intense.
- Builds strength. By exercising in the water, you are working against twelve times the resistance of air. Your movements encourage muscle development and a higher metabolism.
- Improves flexibility and range of motion. Many people, especially those with balance or vision problems, worry about falling when exercising. By exercising in water, however, the buoyancy of the water holds you up. It allows you to increase your range of motion and make larger movements more safely.
- Improves your cardiovascular health. One study showed that a 10-week course of water aerobic exercise significantly reduced the blood pressure of residents with hypertension. The Mayo Clinic reports that exercising while submerged in water may also increase your circulation and improve your cardiovascular health.
- Helps with weight loss. According to the Aquatic Exercise Association, people in a water aerobics class often burn about 400 to 500 calories per hour. This figure varies depending on the intensity of the movements, water temperature and depth and the participant's body size. Because of the water resistance, your metabolism will increase and you'll have more energy to meet your weight loss goal.
- Promotes injury rehabilitation. A water aerobics class is a low impact form of exercise. When exercising in the water, your body does not experience the same impact you feel when on land. In fact, the American Council on Exercise reports that exercising in water makes you feel about 90 percent lighter. This makes water aerobics an excellent choice for those recovering from injuries, as well as those living with chronic conditions, such as arthritis or obesity. Fitness enthusiasts also use water aerobics to maintain their fitness levels when recovering from a sports injury. If you are recovering from an injury or surgery, simply walking in the water will help.
In addition to the physical benefits, exercising in the water is good for your mental health. Participants in water aerobics classes report reduced levels of stress. Classes tend to be a good social outlet, one you share with friendly, supportive people.
Good for Beginners
If you feel inadequate or uncomfortable in other group exercise classes, water aerobics may be right for you. You still have the social and motivational benefits of a class setting, but most of the movements are performed underwater. Generally nobody knows (or cares) if you made a mistake. You don't need to be an Olympic swimmer. If you are nervous about your swimming skills, just start out in shallow water. The movements are just as effective. You can also wear a flotation belt for more security.
A big advantage of water aerobics is that you do not have to do the same movements in the same way as everybody else. Your workout can be tailored to your individual needs. You can just do the basics, or add weights to make it more challenging.
Water aerobics participants generally say they enjoy exercising in the water more than exercising on land. Also, they are able to exercise longer without pain or strain. So why not give it a try? As with any type of exercise, before beginning a water exercise program, talk to your doctor to decide if it is right for you.