A common misconception in the fitness industry is that people do not actually “work out” in aquatic classes. Water aerobics, or vertical water exercise, is extremely beneficial to any fitness routine. Overweight, injured, pregnant, athletic or elder people can improve their fitness levels with this non impact exercise.
Water aerobics is considered a “double concentric” exercise. In laymen terms, a person who completes a bicep curl in the water automatically contracts the bicep. However, with the resistance of the water applied to the hands this “doubles” the force; therefore, near doubles the calorie burn. Water exercise also ‘doubles the fun” as it increases cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength in one session. By combining cardio and strength training the water allows people to reduce body fat.
The water reduces the “weight” of an individual by 90% which in turn reduces stress on joints and allows people to perform physical movements that are too difficult to complete on land. The water also allows people to enhance flexibility and range of motion levels due to the lessen effects of gravity in the water.
One caution about the water is that the heart rate is automatically reduced by 17 beats per minute. People who are on medications may experience even lower heart rates; therefore, it is important to pay attention to how you feel since your body maybe working harder than what the heart is pumping.
Water exercise can be introduced at any age or fitness level. It is an effective form of exercise for beginners who are obese, elder or have some form of physical or mental limitation. Recovering surgical patients are generally placed into a water therapy class to allow the body to stay active while increasing the joints’ range of motion. Water therapy, aqua-yoga, aqua-tai chi or gentle aquatic classes should be the first plunge into the pool.
Arthritic patrons benefit from arthritis-aqua or any gentler form of water classes that concentrates on the flexion, extension and rotation of the joints. For example, common movements for arthritic hands include wrist circles, wrist flexion and extension and wide spreading “raking” the water.
Pre/postnatal women who attend water aerobics can improve posture, reduce backaches, reduce pelvic pressure, increase energy levels and facilitate circulation. Water aerobics is best utilized during the first and second trimester and use caution during the third trimester. An exercise referral should be prescribed for pregnant students.
For the fitness guru or young chap who is skeptical of not “working hard” or sweating in the water, may actually be surprised at how challenging high-intensity water aerobics, deep water or aqua-Pilates is to the fitness level. Trust me; you’ll sweat – so drink plenty of water after any level of water aerobics.
Due to the amount of energy expended a one hour session of water aerobics can burn between 450 and 700 calories per session. Caloric expenditure depends upon several factors: water depth, speed of movement, length of limbs, water temperature and the amount of force applied against the resistance of the water.
Beyond physical benefits water exercise aids gastrointestinal discomforts, improves circulation, eases postpartum recovery, reduces leg cramps or swelling and improves posture.
Water classes generally use equipment for strength training purposes such as: water dumbbells, noodles, aqua steps, aqua gloves or shoes. Wearing aquatic shoes will reduce even more impact on the back and spine. These pieces of equipment add variety to the class as well enhance strength physical strength.
If you are a parent and have ever noticed how long it takes to get your son or daughter out of a pool should be the simply notion that the water is fun and youthful – and so is water exercise.
Where can you find water aerobics classes? The majority of major facilities offer water aerobics classes such as the YMCA, Athletic Clubs and Parks & Recreation Community Centers where a pool is available. Check out your local facilities' group exercise and / or aquatics schedule to view class offerings. In addition, sometimes local community colleges offer aquatic classes to the public.
For a list of programs offered through the City of Portland, please view the link below.