Worried that the soaring temperatures in your tropical vacation paradise will put a dampner on your fitness routine? Fitness expert Kiran Sawhney introduces us to a world of submerged possibilities. By Kiran Sawhney
Do your knees and feet ache from hours of sightseeing? Or do you envy the lean, long-muscled look of those who have it without much effort? Or are you unsure how you’ll be able to follow your fitness routine when on a holiday? Whatever your motive, aqua aerobics (aerobic exercises in water) is a cool and fun way to build strength and stay in shape wherever you are.
To practice aqua aerobics, you don’t necessarily need to know how to swim—the fitness routine is performed in neck-deep water. The buoyancy of the water stretches your muscles and helps smoothen your movements, and you are able to work better on your flexibility. The water’s resistance makes the workout more intense and challenging—it is like carrying a lot of weight while you work out. And the water makes the exercises more gentle because it cushions your joints. To make the workout more effective and fun, equipment such as webbed gloves, aqua shoes, steps, thera bands, buoyancy bells and belts, balls, and tubing can be used.
Since you are working against the resistance of water, you end up burning eight times more calories than any other regular floor aerobics exercise. And, unlike other workouts, a rigorous aqua aerobics session doesn’t leave you drained and sweaty—in fact, it makes you feel fresh. The hydrostatic pressure, that is the force of water against the body, acts like a massage and helps the heart pump blood more efficiently and effectively.
Apart from its efficacy in helping you achieve overall fitness, aqua aerobics can also help cure a variety of ailments such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, back problems, obesity, and osteoporosis, among others.
Aquatic fitness is suitable for all ages, fitness levels, and abilities through a variety of programming options. It is also the perfect way to condition the body. It not only stimulates the mind, but also washes away stress and rejuvenates the spirit. While aqua aerobics takes care of your cardiovascular fitness as well as strength and flexibility, you can combine it with other forms of exercise for more specific results. Any workout that you do in a fitness centre can be done in the pool as well—wether it’s yoga, Pilates, kick-boxing, Zumba, step, cardio, or sculpting and stretching.
Aqua aerobics can also help improve the physical and mental health of an individual. The environment can help you relieve stress and tension as your muscles get loosened up once you let your body submerge in water. Unlike swimming, vertical exercise seeks to maximise resistance, which results in a core challenge.
So, don’t let the heat or the lack of fitness equipment ruin your workout plans. Jump into the nearest pool for a toned, healthier, and happier you.
WHY AQUA AEROBICS
- ► Low impact activity with high results
- ► Health benefits that have been proven by water exercise research
- ► An effective means of rehabilitation
- ► Refreshing change from sweating during exercises on land
- ► Safe and effective exercise modality
- ► Makes you feel weightless
- ► Provides natural massage and muscular tension release
- ► Includes a variety of classes such as shallow water, deep water, circuit, step training with toys and props, line dancing, and interval training, among others
- ► Impact injuries are less likely since buoyancy protects the joints
- ► Water provides natural resistance for improved balance, strength, and muscle toning
- ► Helps you experience a superior abdominal workout just by standing in water and stabilising the body
- ► Helps improve posture and functions for daily activities
- ► A great social activity
- ► Helps relieve stress
- ► Best for hot and humid climates
Tips & Tricks
Anyone who likes water, has injuries, or is in physical rehab. Water workouts are a terrific cross-training activity for runners, cyclists, and aerobicisers. Water workouts are also great for pregnant women, older people, and those with multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, or other degenerative diseases because moving through water is much easier on your body.
WHAT TO WEAR
A swimsuit that doesn’t creep up your rear end. Wear a pair of old sneakers or special aqua-exercise shoes so you don’t scrape your feet on the bottom of the pool. Shoes add more resistance to your workout routine.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN AN INSTRUCTOR
Certification is a definite plus, but water-certification programmes are few and far apart. Never hesitate to ask for your instructor’s credentials, experience, and references. There’s no dearth of gym trainers and lifeguards taking the place of aqua aerobics trainers. Make sure you know all about your trainer so that you are in safe hands.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF A GOOD INSTRUCTOR
Safety should be the priority in any class. A good instructor identifies non-swimmers and insist that they wear life vests at all times during water aerobics. In water running, all class members—even experienced swimmers—wear floatation vests.
WHAT SHOULD BEGINNERS KEEP IN MIND
Choosing the right class is important. You don’t want to dive in with a group of 90-year-olds with limited mobility, unless you are one. If you’re trying to come back from an injury, look for classes with names like ‘Rehab for Runners’. Check with the doctor treating your injury to make sure you can take a class.