Picture this, it’s pushing 90 degrees and you actually feel like exercising, but you know any outdoor workout is out of the question. You remember the pools just opened, the lightbulb in your brain goes on, aqua aerobics! You ask your BFF to join you in a class and they just laugh and say, “Why do you want to do that? It’s for old people.”
That was so yesterday, the scene of bathing caps and swim ruffles is long gone. Today aquatic fitness has done a complete 180. Classes are popping up everywhere and they are nothing like they used to be. Aquatic Fitness Instructors are becoming certified to teach all types of water workouts. The basic “freestyle” class is being joined with programs and styles like Tabata, Barre, Yoga, Tai Chi, HIIT and WATERinMOTION® just to name a few.
Most people have no idea what the benefits of aquatic exercise are. Each style provides different benefits, but here are some of the top reasons why it should be incorporated into your weekly workout regimen.
Increase Muscle Strength
Working out in the water provides 12 times more resistance than air. Water surrounds the arms and legs creating opposition from all directions. The addition of equipment, both buoyant and drag adds to the challenge. With that being said, the muscles have to work harder to move through the water which leads to increased muscle strength. WATERinMOTION® has released their latest format, WATERinMOTION® Strength. It includes the use of aqua dumbbells throughout the entire workout fatiguing, yet fortifying the muscles in the arms, legs and core.
Low-Impact Exercise & Less Stress on the Joints
When exercising in a pool, buoyancy takes over. As much as 90% of our body can be submerged, creating less stress in the joints and less of an impact when jumping or rebounding. The deeper the participant is submerged, the less stress in the joint.
Cardiovascular Health & Chronic Illness
150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week can help decrease your risk of chronic illness, like arthritis according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The hydrostatic pressure and resistance of the water works with blood flow which can possibly decrease blood pressure and improve the resting heart rate which in turn could lower your risk of heart disease.
Cooling Body Core Temperature
You may not realize it, but we can sweat in the pool. Our body temperature stays cooler allowing us to work harder and longer due to the cooling effects of the water. Just because you don’t feel the sweat, doesn’t mean you don’t have to drink water. Most of us don’t realize we are thirsty until it is too late. When your throat feels dry, you are already feeling the effects of dehydration. Be sure to drink water throughout your workout. Go ahead and grab your water bottle.
Creates Social Bonding
As we all know, wellness centers and pools are a great way to meet people. The friendships made from attending aqua aerobics classes can extend beyond the pool. Social gatherings are common among water fitness enthusiasts. Some facilities even offer classes and programs which incorporate partner work. WATERinMOTION® includes a song in every release that involves group activities and movements. The exercises can be as simple as a high-five to as involved as individuals moving from small group to small group to increase social interaction.
Increase Flexibility, Balance and Range of Motion
The buoyancy of the water not only provides protection on the joints but allows the muscle to stretch which can help increase flexibility and range of motion. It also creates an unstable environment causing muscles in the back, abdominals and core to contract in order to stay upright and balanced.
Relieves Stress and Anxiety
According to an article on the AARP website, pool time seems to improve mood and mental health. The “feel-good” emotions of completing a strenuous workout are often attributed to the release of endorphins, hormones that produce a “runner’s high”, which can result in positive psychological benefits.
Total Body Training
Last, but not least, aquatic fitness requires use of the whole body, even if the focus of a movement is only on one area. As mentioned above, the principle of buoyancy requires almost all the muscles in the body to work together in order to balance and move. Most water classes involve the use of both the arms and legs. Depending on the format, one area may supersede another, but as we have learned since we were children, “the foot bone connects to the ankle bone, the ankle bone is connected to the leg bone, etc.” This total body workout is perfect for all ages, abilities, athletic levels and physical requirements.
Even in this unsettled world in which we now live in, the CDC says there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through the pool. They do recommend social distancing and wearing a mask when possible. So the next time you ask your BFF “Do you want to take an aqua aerobics class?”, also add the facts that you can get stronger, create less impact on your joints, keep cool even though you are sweating, make new friends, become more flexible, reduce stress and get a complete total body workout. Grab your towel, water bottle, sunscreen and favorite pair of shades. Bathing caps optional!