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Water Aerobics is a practice mainly performed in the shallow waters of a swimming pool. Their group classes are developed to be dynamic and fun, within an energetic atmosphere surrounded by the most powerful music.
The natural resistance of water makes this workout of low impact, while at the same time it’s extremely beneficial for muscles, joints, spinal column, osseous problems, respiratory conditions and wellbeing.
Water Aerobics can be the answer to many problems, even for pain treatment, weight loss or body shape.
Most of the obstacles highlighted as to overcome are as follows:
- Weight loss
- Body shape and muscle tone
- Injuries and surgeries
- Swollen injuries in joints and limbs
- Relax and wellbeing
- Rehabilitation from accidents
- Cross training for athletes
- Hydrotherapy for respiratory problems or to increase the lung capacity
- Pregnancy workouts
- Get rid of sedentarism
- Spinal column soreness
- and much more
Some people concerns are related to the idea of swimming in a Water Aerobics class. And the good news is that the class takes place in shallow waters of waist to shoulder deep, mostly performing the different exercises in a vertical position and moving around the pool by simply walking. If you prefer, you can certainly swim but with no fear since you are not in deep waters.
Type of exercises performed in these classes
The most common workout routines are prepare to improve your abs, stamina, muscles of your arms and legs, butt, correct your posture with the help of resistance bands, dumbbells or some other water aerobics tools.
As for any physical activity, the warm ups are of most importance prior to start working out. They need to be gentle at the beginning, but increasing the intensity as the minutes go by.
A typical warm up
Once the whole class is into the water, the trainer will guide you all through a warm up like this, in order to increase your heart rate while moving your body with this low-impact exercise.
1- Running high-knees in the water, 2 sets of 20 seconds each.
2- Open and close your legs 20 times.
3- Start running high-knees again reaching your hands up simultaneously. When your knee goes up, your hands go up, keeping your elbows above in order for your shoulders to work.
4- Go back to the open and close legs exercise, and do the same with your arms as previously, trying not to drop them.
5- Stand up in one side of the pool, and start making arm circles forward whilst sidestepping in one direction. Just maintain your arms above the water all the time, given they will get tired fast.
6- Now go back the other direction making forward arm circles.
7- Start again on one direction but shifting to backward arm circles.
8- The next exercise will be Pool-edge pushouts. It is simply putting your hands on the edge of the pool and push yourself all the way up out of the pool, and then drop right off. You can repeat this pushing at a more rapid speed until you get really tired.
9- Then, you can try an abdominal exercising by sitting on the edge of the pool. Hold up your core, feel the belly button going to the spine, keep your shoulders down and off your ears.
10- Start bringing your knees to your chest and then extend the legs all the way out – and in again 15 times. Then you can repeat this set 2 more times.
Water Aerobics with Abdominal Workouts
You can try different types of exercises for an effective Water Aerobics workout like: Cross country skiing, Sidekicks or Push Ups.
Standing up in shallow waters that is waist to shoulder deep, you can start doing this Cross country skiing exercise which is terrific for working the upper and lower body at the same time. You should use proper footwear for this.
1- Place one foot in front of you and the other one in back of you, with both knees slightly bent. Do the same with your arms, keeping your elbows slightly bent. You will alternate the position of your arms while performing this exercise. First one foot and arm in front, and then change.
2- While changing arms and feet, jump and then switch, and repeat with the alternate arm and foot.
3- To boost the results of this exercise, you can make use of a water aerobics dumbbell, holding one in each hand. This will work your back and your chest.
4- You can perform this exercise for one to two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
The Sidekick is a great exercise to make your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and core work. You can perform this exercise freestanding or holding onto the edge of the pool.
1- Bend one of your knees forward, coming in toward, coming up towards your chest, kick your leg out to the side, bring it in and back, down.
2- Now repeat this with the other leg.
3- Perform one to two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions of this exercise on each leg.
The Pushup is perfect for working your triceps and chest. Hold onto the edge of the pool, a little bit wider than your shoulders width.
1- Bend your elbows in order to be at the level of the shoulders or a little bit above.
2- Bend straight your arms, pushing the body up until your are straight.
3- Lower yourself back to the starting position, and repeat the movement described in the 2nd item.
4- Keep your hips back while you perform this exercise and make the effort to maintain the rest of the body correctly aligned.
5- You can do 1 or 2 sets of 10-20 repetitions.
This exercise is great for working your core, and even for for abs muscles. But if you want to go the extra mile and make the effort, just try the Modified or Supported Dolphin Kick.
1- Place your legs in order to hold on from the edge of the swimming pool.
3- Bring your knees towards your chest, and kick out to the back.
4- Perform 1-2 sets of 10-20 repetitions of this kick exercise.
How to exercise with water dumbbells.
Some of the most common exercises performed using water aerobics dumbbells are e.g: Flies, Arm Curls and Water Jogging.
Flies are a terrific workout for your chest, shoulders and back.
1- Position your arms in front of you with your elbows a little bit bent, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
4- Now move your arms forward back to the starting position, and repeat the exercise.
5- You can perform 1-2 sets of 12-15 repetitions of this exercise.
Arm curls are effective to work both the biceps and the triceps while performing arm curls in both ways.
1- Put your palms up, holding a dumbbell in each hand, and making sure your elbows are flexed at 90° angle.
2- Make your elbows as close to your waist as you can, straighten out them until your palms are facing forward.
3- Move your arms and hands to your chest.
4- Face down your palms, maintain your elbows flexed as previously described, make your arms straight down till your palms are facing back.
5- Repeat the movement with the dumbbells towards your chest.
6- Perform 1-2 sets of 12-15 repetitions of this exercise.
Water jogging is a recommended mix of body workout and cardio.
2- As most of your body is submerged into the water, you may feel that you are jogging in place. Still, it is not of importance since the natural resistance of water makes this workout as effective as land-based one.
The Benefits of Water Aerobics for the Elderly
Studies proved that the natural resistance of water, along with its zero gravity are the best scenario for old people. Special classes are crafted to make them work the whole body, mainly focussed on reported problems like joints, spinal column, and muscle tissue among other sufferings. The aim is to keep the body active but performing very gentle and slow movements.
They attend these classes not only for fitness, but numerous times for post-surgeries purposes. The thing is water is ideal for them. They can start doing exercise with no big effort after a hip transplant.
Many people suffering of arthritis, gout, osteoporosis revealed they started feeling better after 4-6 Water Aerobics classes. Water is perfect for relaxing and well being, and decisive for any treatment to improve health conditions to succeed.
A great article at Agingcare.com is worth it to be read. Please take a couple of minutes and you will receive detailed and useful information.
Recommendations from Experts
Andrea Metcalf, a renown Personal Trainer from Chicago, Illinois, in her recent article “10 Common Mistakes That Will Trip Out Your Workout” has highlighted that we need to avoid them in order not to negatively impact the results of our workout routines, thus, our bodies.
- Reading while doing leg exercises on the edge of the pool: multitasking is not recommended while doing exercise. It is preferred to be focused on your routine for 10 minutes in order to get more effective results.
- Stretching before the Water Aerobic class: it is more important to stretch after you workout, but in case you prefer, it is suggested to mimic the movements of the activity you are about to perform, eg: arm curls, sidekicks or flies.
- Forgetting to stretch after the class: strongly recommended to prevent lesions in the muscles you’ve been working with. Although the exercises performed during a Water Aerobics session are of low impact, it would be unhealthy to skip the stretching part, resulting into possible injuries and undesired soreness.
- Drinking cold water while you are working out (or not drinking water at all): it is preferred for the body to drink room-temperature water, otherwise, it will take longer to be hydrated. Some people consider not to drink water during their Water Aerobics session. Experts explained that not being transpired doesn’t mean the body is not losing minerals and water, and that it would be a dangerous and unhealthy decision not to take some sips of room-temperature water while in a Water Aerobics class.
- Doing the same routine each class: our body can get accustomed and will remember what exercise comes next, in order to use the less energy possible to perform it. But if the routine varies every 3-4 weeks our body will use more energy to perform the exercises, and it will be recommended for those trying to lose some pounds.
- Skipping a Water Aerobics session: sometimes we are not able to spend an hour in our daily aqua class, but still we can compensate this by taking only 10 minutes for a vigorous and quick exercise at home that will boost our body.
- Working out every day: our body needs at least one day to rest. However, one can choose for a more relaxed activity to perform 1 or 2 times a week. Water Yoga or Water Meditation are extremely recommended to provide our body with all the necessary energy it lost during the week.
- Training for a Marathon to lose weight: they are different modalities; the former tends to use the less energy possible to let the body continue for long periods of time (sometimes more than 3 or 4 hours), and the latter tends to use all the energy possible in one exercise in order to shed fat and calories. Depending on the purpose why one trains, is the type of exercise to perform in a Water Aerobics class.
- Thinking 10 minutes isn’t worth it: It is worth it!
- Thinking you are too old for Water Aerobics: this discipline is truly recommended for people of all ages. Elderly and athletes can be benefited from its sessions, because water will make miracles in recovery from surgeries, arthritis, osteoporosis, joint soreness, etc. A class for seniors is well developed and they will only need to make gentle and smooth movements with the help of same tools like hand dumbbells or resistance bands.
The American Council on Exercise, The Appalachian State University and The University of California studies, reached the conclusion that depending on the purpose of your workout is the time of the day you should train.
|Purpose: LOSE WEIGHT|
|Time of the day: EARLY MORNING|
After an exhaustive research it is proven that people who do Water Aerobics right “after waking are more consistent…to exercise more often, than those who work out at other times of the day.”
Attending one of these classes early in the morning is also beneficial at the time of breakfast. After a 60-minute session people are more likely not to be starving, and will also prefer healthy food to eat. Additionally, they will continue burning calories during the whole day, feeling relaxed and full of energy at the same time.
|Purpose: GET STRONGER|
|Time of the day: LATE AFTERNOON|
At a certain time of the day, especially from 2pm to 6pm, the testosterone present in our body will make us feel slightly strong at that time, not to mention that our temperature will be at its peak.. A person can take advantage of this fact, and choose to start doing Water Aerobics late in the afternoon in order to obtain the best results. Therefore, people can do an “after office” at the pool in order to strengthen their muscularity.
|Purpose: SLEEP BETTER|
|Time of the day: AFTER WAKING UP|
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the habit of doing exercise will help to sleep better, despite the time of the day the exercise takes place.
The mentioned institution revealed the reasons why it is preferred to workout right after waking. Sleep experts confirmed that “exposure to daylight soon after waking (during a run, bike ride or even a drive to the gym) has the effect of putting a time stamp on your brain: It reminds it when you woke up and when you need to power down at night.” Furthermore, Health researchers at the Appalachian State University stated “morning exercise reduces blood pressure and causes an additional 25 percent dip at night, which has been correlated with better sleep.”
It is a wise a choice to prefer an outdoor pool or an indoor pool illuminated with natural light. There are great locations with enormous windows that will make you feel you are doing an open-air activity, and most important, will put that “time stamp” on your brain helping you go to bed on time.
|Purpose: RESET YOUR BODY CLOCK|
|Time of the day: MID AFTERNOON|
The circadian rhythm is a biological recurring process, that takes place every 24 hours even in the absence of light fluctuations.
Travelling between different time zones, being exposed to artificial light in the evenings, or switching to a night shift will make us reset our body clock. The reason is simple. Experts explained that our brain knows, therefore expects darkness.
Scientists from the University of California, after an exhaustive research and experiments with malfunctioning sense of time mice, came to the conclusion that “exercising at any time of the day helped the mice get back on schedule, but it was most beneficial for the mice to run during the afternoon—not in the morning.”
Water Aerobics it will be a great choice to recover from a jet-lag. A mid afternoon class would an asset, to get back to your normal activities.
Doctors and Nutritionists’ guidance for beginners
Professionals have confirmed that the BMI (Body Mass Index) is the starting point at the time of crafting a nutritional and physical tailored plan.
BMI is the measure of body fat, based on height and weight of humans of 18- 65 years, which depending on the results may indicate if the person is overweight, obese, underweight or normal.
A BMI calculator will quickly provide the scales according to the information one submits. However, it is also possible to use the following formula to reach the very same results:
|ENGLISH BMI FORMULA BMI= (Weight in pounds / (Height in inches x Height in inches)) x 703|
|METRIC BMI FORMULABMI= (Weight in kilograms / (Height in meters x Height in meters))|
Our body is designed to burn calories even when we sleep. Therefore, the next point according to experts, is the BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), which measures how many calories one body can burn per day in rest.
It is important to notice that the easiness to metabolize everything we eat, decreases with age. In an attempt to lose some weight, people tend to eat smaller portions or leave aside some food, which will only worsen the problem. In such case, it is recommended to do a regular cardio routine (and indeed Water Aerobics is the most suitable option) in order to increase the BMR, improving the health conditions when our body’s capacity to burn calories is notably decreasing.
A BMR calculator will easily and quickly provide the results. However, it’s good to mention that there is a special formula behind the scenes that will bring the same information, as follows:
|ENGLISH BMR FORMULA – WOMENBMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )
ENGLISH BMR FORMULA – MENBMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in year )
|METRIC BMR FORMULA – WOMENBMR = 655 + ( 9.6 x weight in kilos ) + ( 1.8 x height in cm ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )
METRIC BMR FORMULA – MENBMR = 66 + ( 13.7 x weight in kilos ) + ( 5 x height in cm ) – ( 6.8 x age in years )
The last point professionals take into account is the BODY FAT AMOUNT, applying a formula developed by the US Navy.
Fat is essential to bodily functions, it regulates the temperature, insulates and cushions tissues and organs, resulting into the main sort of energy storage for our body.
A Fat Calculator will show your real world now, and will also allow you to plan your goals for a healthier lifestyle.
The below chart will reflect the percentage of body fat according to one’s gender, so you can determine what (if any) changes in your daily routine are requested:
Water Aerobics Equipment
Water Aerobics accessories are presented to the trainees in the class, and the Instructor will define the benefits and the correct use of them, in order to get the best results after every workout session.
These items are manufactured with outstanding materials, making them resistant to water and durable. Some of them are made of Eva foam, which is a soft material mostly used in flotation bars, buoyancy cuffs and dumbbells. Resistant bands are often used to boost your strength and stamina.
A complete kit like an Aqua Jogger Fitness system is mostly used for personal training, rather than for a groupal class. However, there are Water Aerobics Instructors that deliver advanced classes and employed this set of accessories.
Swimwear is also important to attend these classes, feeling comfortable to workout and wearing a piece according to your style. There is a large variety of colors, patterns, fabrics, and shapes both for men and women.
Footwear is part of the basic kit to practice Water Aerobics. Trainers have the perfect grip, converting them into the best option to be safe in slippery surfaces.
We recommend the following items of each category based on positive reviews and brand names.
Swimwear for Women:
The bra is designed with oval shaped and removable cups to provide the support needed.
Manufactured with high-resistant chlorine fabrics, turning this item strongly recommended for daily Water Aerobics classes.
Essential accessory: Speedo Pull Buoy
Made of high water and chemical resistant Eva foam.
Available in multiple combination of colors.
Essential accessory: Speedo Aqua Fitness Barbells (Pair)
Excellent for Water Aerobics routines, recommended for upper body building.
Made of Chlorine and water resistant materials.
Women Footwear: RYKA Women’s Hydro Sport Water Shoe
Excellent fit and traction, available in Light Blue, Medium Blue and Grey.
With synthetic mesh upper and webbing midfoot cage to provide medial and lateral support.
Removable inner sole that absorbs high impact.
Men’s Footwear: Men’s Wave Water Aerobics Shoes
Webbed synthetic material to facilitate drainage.
Drawstring to adjust the tightness turn this water shoes an excellent choice to safe Water Aerobics workout.
Basic Tool: Water Gear Water Runner Flotation Belt
Perfect buoyancy, allow to maintain the vertical position, and the correct alignment of the column.
Made of Eva foam, replaceable and adjustable straps.
Essential Item: Speedo Silicone Swim Cap
Available in multiple colors, will maintain the hair dry and in its place.
Strongly recommended for long and great volume hair.