the World: Japan

At the beginning

Japanese fitness clubs often offer programs that are popular in fitness-advanced countries and are highly requested by members. This is because it not only satisfies the desire to exercise, but also stimulates the challenging spirit of members who are trying to master high-intensity, highly difficult movements.

However, it is dangerous for a small Japanese person to perform a program produced overseas “as is”, and adjustments to the lesson, time, and program structure may be necessary (the licensing company may not allow changes).

When introducing WATERinMOTION® (WIM) to Japan, from the beginning, they were very flexible in arranging the configuration and providing advice tailored to Japan’s needs. Once again, we would like to express our sincere thanks to Sara and her WIM team for their willingness to work with us and for their many suggestions.

Differences from overseas

Arrangement of Composition

Because Americans and Japanese differ in their skeletal structure, physical strength, and the depth of the pool, I was concerned that they might lose concentration due to fatigue. Therefore, we recommend 30-minute classes instead of WIM’s full track (60 minutes). Each Original WAVE has a 30-minute class that selects a track specializing in improving endurance and muscle strength from a total of 10 tracks. Platinum also offers 30-minute and 45-minute classes to suit the participant demographic.

In both cases, participants build up their physical strength in a 30-minute class, and then move on to 45- and 60-minute classes, which will motivate participants to take on the challenge. Also, in the Original WAVE Group Track and Platinum Community Track, you can see scenes where people form pairs and touch each other, but in Japan, many people feel embarrassed by these actions, so they do not break the formation of the same chorus. is being carried out.

Choreo Arrangement

For the same reasons as above, there are some movements that are difficult for Japanese people. In that case, we suggest adding an arrangement for Japanese audiences without breaking the theme of the track. This is to prevent participants from thinking, “I don’t want to participate because I can’t do it.” This will also help foster participants’ motivation to take on challenges, such as “I’m participating because I can” and “I’m participating because I think I can do it too.”

Follow up with Trainer

When we introduce a new release, we use videos to explain how to express things and what to say to participants to guide them through the correct movements. We have also added “Trainer’s TIP” to the flashcards, which describes the points of the chorus and the background of the songs used in Japanese.

Differences in Program Structure

Unlike the Japanese program structure, which moves from low intensity to high intensity, WIM is up-tempo from the  start, so the individual is encouraged “even if there are movements that you can’t do, rearrange them into movements that you can do and give 100% effort.” I feel that their autonomy is respected. In Japan, participants often feel that they should not do anything other than what the trainer tells them to do, so they need suggestions from the trainer, such as, “If you can’t do it, try arranging it this way.”  Therefore, trainers must always be prepared with various arrangement methods.

Differences in Thinking – Reducing Burden

I feel that there is a big need in knowing how to reduce the strain on the trainer’s body, which was not present in previous Japanese aqua-aerobics programs. Until a few years ago in Japan, trainers who taught on the deck did not wear shoes and taught in bare feet or on mats. I find it very innovative that the strain on the trainer’s body is greatly reduced by using a high-chair or wearing shoes on their hands. This is also greatly appreciated by the clubs and trainers who use it.

Customer Reaction

When participants and trainers who are accustomed to Japanese program structure encounter WATERinMOTION® for the first time, they are surprised by its speed and movement (choreography). After the lesson, I was amazed at how much I sweated during the pool program and was again shocked at how intense and sore my muscles were. Images from this event showed over 50 participants. The trainer is Akihiro.  

After introducing the system, customers can be seen accepting new things without hesitation, inviting each other to participate in the lessons, and practicing the fingertip exercises they did with Platinum’s Memory Track in the jacuzzi after the lesson.

The oldest member at the time, 92 years old, who was participating in Aki’s lessons, was called a legend, and the goal of the members around him was to “stay as healthy as that legend forever.” It’s a shame that I can’t meet the legend now because the lessons have changed.


Although there are only a few clubs in Japan that are implementing WATERinMOTION®, the members who have participated have really enjoyed the program and are seeing its effects. We will continue to work hard for the health of our members, the development of the community, and the development of fitness clubs in Japan.

Clip From Live Class: Water in Motion WAVE筋力アップ (youtube.com)

About the Author: Megumi Kokubo
Served as club manager and kids school manager at Bunkyo Center Co., Ltd. (SPORTS SPA ATHLIE)
Qualifications: Japan Fitness Association AQE, Health Exercise Instructor

About the Author: Akita Nagamine
Planning and managing events mainly in Kagawa Prefecture and working hard to develop the next generation.
United One Co., Ltd. Representative Director
Qualifications: Japan Fitness Association AQE/ADE, Health Exercise Instructor, ACSM/EP-C

About the Author: Aki Shibuya

In addition to working as an advisor, training, and assessment service at multiple fitness clubs in the Tokyo metropolitan area, he is also in charge of aqua and studio lessons. Qualifications: AEA & ADI certified aqua exercise instructor, Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare certified healthcare trainer



Build Your Aqua Portfolio in 2024

Your pool classes may be packed now, but how will you keep them coming back after the new year rush? It’s time to review your choreography or freestyle thinking and revamp your workouts.  DC & California MANIA® offer just what you need to keep them splashing and moving in the pool. With 15 lectures/practical workshops plus over 200 exciting fitness and business sessions over 3-days, you’re bound to bring back a variety of programming and moves to keep the waves rolling.

The Importance of Insurance for Aqua Exercise

By: Miriam Ball

Aqua exercise, also known as water aerobics, has become a popular way to stay fit and healthy. A great example of this is WATERinMOTION®, which offers SilverSneakers-approved classes to folks all over the US!

This form of exercise, performed in a swimming pool, is favored for its low-impact nature and numerous health benefits. However, like any physical activity, it comes with inherent risks. This blog discusses the importance of insurance for individuals teaching aqua exercise classes and for facilities offering these programs.

Understanding Aqua Exercise

Aqua exercise involves aerobic and resistance training in a pool. It’s beneficial for a wide range of individuals, including those with joint issues, seniors, pregnant women, and those recovering from injuries. The buoyancy of water reduces stress on the body, making it a safe exercise option. However, the aquatic environment also introduces unique risks, such as slipping on wet surfaces or water-related accidents.

Why Insurance is Essential for Aqua Exercise

  1. Mitigating Financial Risks:

Participant Accident insurance can cover unexpected medical costs arising from aqua exercise-related injuries. Even though it’s low-impact, accidents or muscle strains can occur. Liability insurance is crucial. If a participant gets injured during a class, the instructor or facility could be held responsible. Liability insurance helps cover legal fees and settlements.

  1. Ensuring Continuity of Business:

For businesses, insurance can safeguard against interruptions in business operations and income. For instance, if a pool needs repairs due to an accident, property insurance can cover the costs, minimizing downtime.

  1. Building Trust and Credibility:

For instructors, having insurance demonstrates professionalism and builds trust with clients. It shows that you are prepared for unforeseen situations, which can be reassuring for your clients.

  1. Compliance with Regulations:

Many regions require fitness instructors and facilities to have certain types of insurance. Not having appropriate insurance can lead to legal issues and fines. Be sure to check with your state to determine how much insurance you need.

  1. Peace of Mind:

For everyone involved, knowing that there’s financial protection in case of accidents or injuries provides peace of mind, enabling participants to enjoy the exercise without worry.

Types of Insurance Relevant to Aqua Exercise

There are multiple types of business insurance that water aerobics instructors and gyms need to ensure they are fully protected in case of an accident or damage.

Liability Insurance: Protects against claims of negligence, such as a participant getting injured due to improper instruction or unsafe conditions.

Professional Liability: Protects against claims of professional negligence, such as providing incorrect exercise guidance.

Participant Accident Insurance: Covers medical treatments for injuries that might occur during aqua exercise sessions.

Property Insurance: Covers damage to your business personal property and equipment due to accidents or natural disasters.

How to Choose the Right Insurance

Now that we’ve discussed the different types of insurance you need, be sure you are finding the right coverage provider by following these simple steps.

Assess Your Needs: Understand the specific risks associated with aqua exercise to choose the right type and amount of coverage.

Shop Around: Compare policies from different insurers to find the best coverage at a reasonable price.

Read the Fine Print: Pay attention to exclusions and limitations in the policy.

Consult with Professionals: Speak with insurance agents or brokers who specialize in fitness and recreational activities for tailored advice.

Choosing the Right Liability Insurance
Having appropriate insurance coverage is essential for protecting your fitness business against unforeseen circumstances. At Alternative Balance, we are here to support you in managing risks and protecting your business. Reach out to our team of experts (we are based in New Hampshire) to discuss your insurance needs and how we can help you navigate the unique challenges of the fitness industry.

An AB Membership includes comprehensive business insurance and other business resources created specifically for the wellness industry. Our insurance plan includes general and professional liability insurance, participant accident coverage, and business personal property/business interruption coverage for over 750 services, all under one policy, starting at $189/yr. Our simple 2-step application is the easiest and fastest in the industry – get covered in 10 minutes or less, then get back to doing what you love!  

If you would like to chat with us in person, join us at DC MANIA®, FEB. 23-25, 2024, at the HYATT REGENCY DULLES.  We are available in the expo hall (free to attend) and will also be providing insightful sessions throughout the weekend. As an added bonus, MANIA® Attendees save $20 when on a membership, www.alternativebalance.com/scw. For more information and to register visit https://scwfit.com/dc.  We look forward to meeting you and helping you choose the right protection for your business.

About the Author: Miriam Ball

Miriam Ball is the CIO and a licensed property & casualty broker at Alternative Balance LLC. She specializes in developing insurance programs for the health, beauty, and wellness industries. Over the past 20 years, Miriam has developed policy forms and website systems for insureds across the US.

8 Ways to Increase Member
Usage in Your Aquatics Area

By: Ann Gilbert

Although many club operators have taken action to fill in pools or are decreasing the number of aquatics classes on their schedule, fitness entrepreneurs are seeing the wet area as the new hub of member activity. The goal is to rekindle interest, increase usage, and introduce specialized programming. The results are in showing revenue, retention, and referral are on the rise.

Here are 8 ways to increase member usage of your aquatics area:

  1. Launch new members into water fitness programming.When you implement an introduction to water fitness programming as part of your new member integration system, the member can experience the benefits of resistance and cardiovascular training in a welcoming environment. Participants will gain confidence while learning the fundamentals. Upon implementation, most clubs have found an increase in membership referrals.
  2. Introduce small group personal training options in the aquatics area.This option assures that members can exercise in a group setting with those with like goals. Most agree that small group training sessions assure that members receive personalized coaching, as well as an ability to focus on wellness goals. Many are now calling the wet area the water fitness area and introducing fee-based personalized options once only found on dry ground. Creating a unique menu of services will also assure professional marketing.
  3. Introduce popular land-based programming in the aquatics area. In clubs across the country, you are apt to find Aqua Kick Boxing, Aqua Pilates, Aqua Yoga and Aqua Dance as staples on the group fitness schedule. A focus on upbeat music and choreography is no longer exclusive to the land programming. Although beginners will feel comfortable with basic movement patterns repeated more often, the regulars will be asking for more when those creative turns, jumps, kicks and spins can be added.
  4. Add aquatic-style seasonal, birthday, and anniversary celebrations to increase usage during non-prime time hours.Whether renting the area for a fee or expanding the club’s monthly party to the area, the excitement of the pool party is felt by all. Kids and adults alike find the pool the perfect place to celebrate their special event, increasing non-dues revenue opportunities within the facility.
  5. Offer one-on-one personal sessions in your aquatic’s lineup.Many trainers have stepped up, seeing one-on-one training in the pool as a way to grow their careers. Most trainers know the benefits of transitioning in the pool after an injury, therapy, or a major sporting event. As doctors direct their patients to the water, personal trainers who have established themselves as water fitness experts will reap the benefits of having taken the aquatics trainer certification.
  6. Introduce a rapid weight-loss aquatics program. Classes and groups focusing on rapid weight-loss programming, including water walking, intervals, drills, and endurance workouts, are now popular. Marketing your water fitness programming as more than just the aqua class of the past and including it in all local and social networking sites will create a member experience like no other, while drawing nonmembers to the club.
  7. Offer specificity aquatics training to increase retention, revenue, and referrals.When clubs add mind/body classes, people will come in, pay for value-based programming, and tell one and all about the options. Many clubs schedule stress-relieving workouts as part of weekend member parties or “pamper me” events. Light the candles and dim the lights and watch the referral numbers climb. Many facilities combine these unique trainings with stretching demos, foam rolling clinics and “try me’ training sessions, in which fitness professionals can introduce their workout’s softer side.
  8. Offer boot camps, aqua marines, and swim competitions.The key to increasing usage in the aquatics areas of your facility is to frequently change your options or menu selection. Introduce a fee- and non-fee-based menu, recruit the best of the best trainers educate your members about the benefits of adhering to all aspects of fitness in the pool.
  9. BONUS!
  • Swim Lessons
  • Weekly Volleyball
  • Strength Only Classes
  • Surf/Turf Small Group Training

The bottom line is “think outside the box”.  Give your members something different and be innovative.  Create a list or ask your staff for other ideas.  No idea is too small.  Before you know it, your wet area will be so busy, and members will yet be clamoring for even more.

Want more from Ann, join her at an upcoming SCW MANIA®.  Her non-stop personality can be found leading Active Aging & SEAT workshops as well as lecturing in business sessions.  Visit www.scwfit.com/mania for more information.

How Social Live Affects Bone Health

By: Elizabeth Almekinder
Courtesy of Blue Zones

High levels of social stress have been established through research as associated with fractures in postmenopausal women. New research has pointed to bone loss as a process in this relationship.

Stress and Bone Loss

Many people, especially women, experience osteoporosis as they get older. The onset of menopause precipitates the issues. Osteoporosis then becomes a public health concern, as people with the condition are more at risk for falls and subsequent fractures.

Stress is when you are unable to cope with the condition at hand. It could be any combination of psychosocial events, including loss of positivity, loss of satisfaction with life, or education level that is a precursor to bone loss. It includes the release of stress hormones as the physiological response.

For six years, 11,020 women from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) were studied to investigate if poor quality socialization, or psychosocial stress, was related to bone loss in these women. The findings of the six-year follow-up study were published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Link Between Bone Density, Stress, and Social Activity

The scientists looked at separate bone density data from enrollment in the WHI, to six years following. Women were evaluated for stressors related to death of a family member, divorce, abuse, chronic health conditions, and financial strain.

The subjects were asked to fill out an informational sheet about their level of stress as it relates to their social activity. The researchers looked at social support, strain, and functioning. Over the six years, they compared data related to the three areas.

Research findings provide evidence that social stress does decrease BMD over a six-year period in women following menopause. These findings correlate with previous findings that social stress increases fractures, as BMD and fracture risk are related.

Subjects lost density of bone in the femoral neck (0.082%), total hip (0.108%) and lumbar spine (0.069%). The researchers evaluated participants for factors that might influence the study, such as history of a fracture after the age of 55, age, education, other conditions, weight and Body Mass Index (BMI), smoking, excess use of alcohol, hormone treatments, age at menopause and lack of physical activity.

Why the Research Findings Make Sense

Stress is already linked to many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. The alterations in bone mass seen in the study may also suggest high levels of cortisol, thyroid and growth hormones, along with glucocorticoids.

Blue Zones and Bone Loss

Our research in the original blue zones regions around the world shows that a strong social network and sense of community including family and friends is linked to better longevity and overall health. This new study supports some of the “how” and “why” to what we know is true.

Our research in the original blue zones regions around the world shows that a strong social network and sense of community including family and friends is linked to better longevity and overall health.

The researchers suggest that their findings would support the building of community social stress interventions in post-menopausal women to decrease bone mass density loss. In our work in Blue Zones Project communities, building in-person networks and social activity is part of how we improve well-being in entire populations. 

In addition, researchers suggest screening programs for Bone Mass Density, exercise programs to encourage weight-bearing and building of calcium in bones to prevent osteoporosis, and encouragement of regular health check-ups to evaluate bone density and the need for treatment for low Vitamin D and calcium levels.

Related to falls, there should be evidenced-based programs related to fall prevention, Tai Chi for balance, or Geri-Fit. These programs should be offered at senior and community centers, along with Innovative Support Groups to Help Women Aging Alone. In addition, both children and adults alike, should:

  • Avoid poor nutrition, strict diets (get treatment for eating disorders)
  • Eat a healthy diet with enough calcium per day
  • Participate in regular physical activity that involves weight-bearing exercise
  • Get checked by your healthcare provider for a Vitamin D deficiency and for calcium deficiencies
  • Don’t smoke and stay away from secondhand smoke
  • Avoid drinking alcohol to excess

New MANIA® Student Scholarship

SCW will be awarding 100 scholarships to the MANIA® Conventions Support Staff positions in 2024. This scholarship is designed to support College and University students who aspire to focus on a Fitness and/or Wellness career but do not have the finances to pursue this path.

Individuals who demonstrate exceptional dedication and potential in the field of Fitness and Wellness will receive a complimentary registration to the SCW Support Staff Program for the Live MANIA® Convention of their choice. This award also includes a half-price Live SCW Certification in your selected field of study.

We look forward to receiving your applications and supporting your journey towards becoming a well-educated Group Exercise Instructor, Personal Trainer, Coach and/or Fitness or Wellness Facility Manager, Owner and/or Operator. Read More: Student Scholarship | SCW Fitness Education

Looking To Hire? FREE Job Board

In Need of Teachers, Trainers, Directors, or Managers? SCW’s new FREE JOB BOARD is supporting the industry’s need for qualified fitness pros.

Best of all there is NO COST to you. We will post your openings in all three of our monthly e-newsletters: Spotlite, Health & Fitness Business News, and Tidal Waves which are emailed out to tens of thousands of fitness professionals teaching and training in all formats along with managers and directors at all fitness facilities: big box, gyms, boutique, studios, not for profits and independent centers. 


We’re always looking for great content highlighting the newest things in the world of aquatic fitness. Please submit your article directly to [email protected] for immediate consideration!

Give us your feedback on what interests you, and maybe YOU will make it in the SCW Tidal Waves!

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