Gone are the days when water aerobics is known for ‘the older exercise group.’ Water exercise is the still
voted one of the top exercises to perform. I’m not talking about walking some laps or jumping up and down with a noodle for 30 minutes. I’m talking exercise that’s going to skyrocket your metabolism because of the unique exercises you can learn to do in the pool.
Build lean muscle, lose weight, build cardiovascular endurance, increase flexibility and have a blast with great tunes and great company are just some of the reasons why you want to choose the water over land in your next workout:
Easy on the Joints
The water is obviously less stressful on the joints because gravity is taken out of the equation. If you have joint tenderness, arthritis, knees that don’t work as good as they used to, or any other inflammatory issues, the water will act as a buffer and soothe your body while you exercise. Think of it as a therapeutic bonus. You can jump, swim, kick, and bounce your way to a stronger you.
Tones and Build Muscle
Any type of resistance will tone or build muscle. Using free-weights like dumbbells that have any type of weight to them are one form of resistance (because it’s putting resistance on your muscles and bones). Using a tube, band, ball, or your body weight are all other examples of resistance training. Water is no different. It’s placing resistance on your bones and muscles, therefore making your muscles work and causing them to contract.
You can also use water gloves, noodles, water weight dumbbells and bard or even balls in the pool to increase your resistance.
It’s another form of cardio in the pool. You generally use more of your body to swim (cardio) than to run on a treadmill (cardio) so you are using more calories to make more of your body move. It’s just another example of why you can burn more in less time because you are using more effort to propel your body.
Builds Cardiovascular Endurance
Your heartbeat beats less per minute in the water due to the water pressure pressing in on all sides of your body. Your blood flows better and more efficient without the gravity. Generally speaking, you would take off 10 heartbeats per minute to get your regular heart rate when on the land. So if you have a heart rate monitor on while swimming, it will record a lesser heart rate per minute, but you are actually working just as hart – it just doesn’t feel like it. Beautiful! This means you are working smarter, not harder for the same results.
Stretching in the water is a huge benefit. It’s more therapeutic (especially if you have a saltwater pool) because your body weight is suspended and there is less pressure on your muscles, joints, tendons, and bones. The weightless water allows you to hover and pull your legs closer to your core without gravity pulling them down. Your stretches become the focus, rather than trying to balance or hang on for dear life.
Increase Core Strength
The water requires a lot more muscles to do a simpler task, like walking through to the other side. If you were to walk on land you only need to use your legs and lightly swing your arms without much effort. In the pool, your arms need to do some work, and there is obvious resistance that makes your walking a stronger task at hand. Most exercises in the pool require your core (more so than when on land) so you are working more muscles at once – a huge blessing!
Build Your Balance
Balance exercises are a little more challenging in the water, especially if the water around you is moving. You use more core strength (stabilizer muscles) in order to stable yourself. You can also stand on one leg with safety because if you fall over, you aren’t going to fall to the hard ground and break your hip.
Work Smarter Not Harder
Your heart beats slower when in the pool due to the lack of gravity. You can subtract 10 beats per minute. Your flexibility can increase because you can do more exercises without falling over in the pool. It’s safer to do certain exercises too because if you fall over, you won’t hit the hard floor and break a bone.
Have you ever used water weights? These puppies can create huge resistance in the water and can even make you sore for days! It’s all about the intensity and the duration of your exercise too. The longer you workout the more calories you’ll burn. The greater the resistance the more time you’ll save.
Try some of these exercises in a pool. These are also in the free downloadable guide found at the top. It’s not the same without music and friends, so if you get a chance, grab some friends and print out the page for some fun exercises!
Take your feet and tap the side of the pool.
Then kick them straight back behind you and go straight over to tap the other side of the pool wall. Try this back and forth 10 times.
Rock your hips side to side. Try to keep your hips out of the water as much as possible.
Try 20 on each side.
Around The World
Bring your knees up to your chest and then kick them together out to the side, bring them back to your chest and kick them out to the other side. Do this as fast as possible for 10 full rounds.
More photos coming…
Sarah has taught over 500 water aerobics classes in the US and internationally and is a multi-certified personal trainer, fitness instructor, wellness coach & certified in CPR/AED.