Working out is such a personal topic. Some people love to run, getting a high each time they step into their sneakers. For others it may be tennis, spin class (me), martial arts, or hiking. For Kaitlin Gardner, it’s all about the pool. Her new favorite activity is aqua aerobics, which she now does all year round. Here’s Kaitlin’s story, and why aqua aerobics may just be right for you:
Aqua Aerobics: Bring the Gym to the Pool
A while back, I got burned out on the gym. Part of it was the workout routines. I got tired of doing the same things every week. Granted, a lot of that was my own fault for not varying my workouts. But I was looking for something that would re-energize me and my desire to exercise. That’s when I discovered aqua aerobics.
A wonderful workout option. Working out in the water is very soothing – we are made up of 60 percent water, so being there feels natural. I think that’s why we had so much fun at the pool when we were kids. It is an exercise option I can use all year round – whether it is too hot or cold to exercise outside, I can still go to the indoor pool and work out. Here are some great sites with more details and information:
- Free Water Aerobic Routines
- Water Aerobics and Water Fitness Exercises
- >Health Benefits of Water-based Exercise
The health benefits of water. I read once that the heart rate is slower in the water – around 10 beats per minute lower for the resting heart rate, and 10 to 30 beats per minute for the max heart rate. That means less effort on the heart, with the same or better ability to exercise. The water also provides a low impact workout option. When I do lunges in the gym, it hurts and my knees creak. When I do those same lunges in the water, the impact of my foot is so gentle it is amazing.
What makes water so great for exercise? There are two words which come to mind – buoyancy and resistance. In the water, my body only has to support a fraction of its own weight. There is a lightness when I work out that is readily noticeable, and feels wonderful. Buoyancy provides the low impact element, and makes water workouts much easier on the joints and muscles. Water is a dense substance, and therefore provides resistance – my muscles have to work harder to push against that water. If I do a bicep curl on land with a 5 pound weight, I’m picking up 5 pounds. If I do it in the water, the resistance makes it like I’m lifting a heavier weight.
How do you get started? There are lots of ways to do that. An easy introduction would be to take a water aerobics group class at the local pool. It will be a well rounded set of exercises that will work both arms and legs, as well as providing a cardio element. In groups, people are very friendly – in the first class I visited, everyone was laughing and joking, I think because it’s just so much fun being in the water. They were very helpful in explaining the moves to me, and the class went by quickly. I also noticed what I had been missing in the gym – a social element. In the gym, everyone wears headphones, and works out in their own little world. In a pool aerobics class – it was a whole different experience because of the people were so willing to interact.
Are you ready for more? So you’ve been exercising for a while, and want to branch out from the basic aqua aerobics class? That’s when the great number of choices for water workouts can really get fun. I sometimes pick my workout for the day based on my mood. If I’m ready for a vigorous workout which will help me relieve stress, I go for a kick boxing class, or hit the super popular Zumba class, with the sexy hip swinging moves. If I need to relax, I go for aqua yoga or water tai chi, both of which offer a soothing workout in the relaxing environment of water. If I just want some cardio, I will go to the pool when the lap lanes are open. I jump in one, and begin aqua jogging – moving up and down the lane briskly in a good jogging posture.
Friends often ask me why I am so in love with aqua aerobics. It takes too long to explain all the benefits, so my short answer is – “Just try it once! You’ll see why I do it so much!”
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.