"Aqua Aerobics would be one of my favourite types of classes to teach. It is probably one of the most underated forms of exercixe. Many believe that aqua aerobics is only for the elderly, overweight, pregnant or injured - nothing could be further from the truth."
Overview of Aqua Aerobics
Water recruits more muscle fibres and provides greater resistance than air, which means it is an excellent medium for strengthening muscles. Water decreases wear and tear on muscles and reduces stress on joints. When exercisers are submerged to chest level, the gravitational pull on the body is reduced by around 85%.
There is little or no post exercise stiffness after a water workout. The massage effect of water increases circulation and promotes relaxation.
Water improves balance and coordination because it encourages the opposition of movement between the arms and legs.
The heart pumps 10% to 20% more blood per beat when the body is submerged in water. This is equivalent in effect to the pumping capacity of the heart of a peak performance athlete.
A 60 minute workout in water can burn between 350-500 calories
Like any type of exercise, aqua aerobics can be performed at different intensities, it is up to you to challenge yourself to get the most out of your aqua aerobics class.
Today’s sports specific training programs are easily adapted to an aquatic environment and many trainers and coaches are incorporating water as an essential element of their training regime. The advantages are, that athletes can work on their strength and skills while avoiding their overtraining injuries, so common on land.
Sports specific power water workouts are designed to duplicate the strength and aerobic training effects obtained on land. By including these types of powerful moves, a challenging workout can be achieved, while at the same time increasing your muscular endurance and strength as you work against a resistance that is around 830 times greater than air.
Choosing Swim Wear
When choosing to exercise in water, the type of swim wear needs to be considered. Bikinis, and low cut bathers can be an issue, as the water will pull on the Lyra as you jump up and down (thus revealing more than you want to expose!). Action back bathers and bathers that are not too high cut on the leg are appropriate. For men, both Speedos, and board shorts are fine, as long as they sit firmly on the torso, and are not loose on the hips.
Many people often do aqua exercise without wearing anything on their feet and this is fine. One of the issues that you may find is that the pool bottom is often slippery. This can be frustrating, as it will be hard to get enough grip on the bottom to propel or stabilise the body. Also, if you require arch and foot support in everyday life, you will feel the necessity to have the same when exercising in the pool.
Many people wear socks, or non slip socks – they have little rubberised sections on the bottom of them to avoid slipping. The alternative is to purchase shoes that surfers use to protect their feet at the beach. Regardless of what you end up getting, make sure that it fits snugly on your feet, so that they do not slip off or move around once you start exercising.
Depth of Water
The exercises that will be provided over the next 6 weeks, are all appropriate for chest depth water. If you are unfamiliar with exercising in water, move to a depth that is in between chest and waist depth. This the optimal depth to increase heart rate and perform the movements at the right speed.
If you go any deeper than chest depth, the exercises need to be adapted to cater for this, and often a buoyancy belt is required. If you go shallower than waist depth, it is difficult to keep your arms under the water, and also the impact with the bottom of the pool increases considerably. It can also place stress on your joints and lower back.
Water workouts can be performed every day! Most sessions last approximately 45minutes. The beautiful thing about water is that the muscle contractions that are performed in water are very different than what happens when you exercise on land. When moving through water, every action exercises the body. For example, when performing a scooping action with an arm across the body, the arm will have to work in both directions to move against the resistance in the water. This constant effort against the resistance of the water does not make you sore, but it does burn a lot of calories. It is quite unusual for people to get sore the next day, so it is fine to exercise on a daily basis.
Hand and arm movements play a very important role with both coordination and intensity in the water. To maintain an upright and stable stance, arms and legs often move in opposite directions, very much like walking on land. When arms and legs move in the same direction, your body will destabilise and it will feel awkward to perform the movement.
Finger placement will often dictate the intensity of the exercise. Splayed open fingers, and cupped hands will create turbulence, which will make the exercise little harder. Also the amount of surface area exposed to the water will determine the level of intensity. The greater the surface area, the more resistance through the water. Slicing movements and punching hands are great for faster type activities, as the reduced surface area allow the arm to move faster through the water.
Finally, if you want to work hard, avoid relaxed, soft fingers and wrists. This will decrease the caloric expenditure and also ability to move effectively through the water.
Anything you like!!!!! This is one form of exercise that you can use any music that motivates you. Good aqua classes will incorporate a range of music styles and tempos. The energy in the song will dictate the amount of effort that you will put into the exercises, so all your favourite high energy songs are the go.
When you first get into a pool, your initial reaction is to jog. This is a natural response to the water temperature, which is usually colder than our skin temperature. Jogging on the spot with high knee action and arms stretching and pulling through the water is a great way to warm up the body. Most of the exercise that will be covered over the next 6 weeks will be appropriate for a warm up. Basically anything that gets the heart rate up is fine.