By Jessica Heller, Aquatics Director, Elite Sports Club-Mequon
Aquatic exercises are safe, effective, and fun for all ages and athletic abilities. Water fitness programming has progressed and diversified over the past several years, seeing an increase in participation worldwide.
The benefits of aquatic exercise include:
- Buoyancy: In the water there is less impact to the joints than on land.
- 360 degrees of resistance: Muscles must work against resistance to become stronger and more toned. Because of its viscosity, water provides more resistance than air, and in all directions of movement. This helps to provide a more balanced workout as opposing muscles are involved in every movement, unlike on land where you typically need to select more exercises to work all the muscles.
- Decreased heart rate: Typically, aquatic exercisers experience lower heart rates with the same oxygen consumption as exercising on land. It also allows a more efficient venous return from the extremities to the heart, and improves the exchange of oxygen with waste products in the blood.
- Calorie burning comparable to land exercise: On land, weight bearing is a primary factor for increasing calorie consumption, but with aquatic exercise, using the water’s resistance is more of a factor. Studies estimate that around 400-500 calories are burned in a one hour aquatic exercise session. This is comparable to running or walking at 10-11 minutes per mile.
A significant part of the workout intensity is up to the individual, by varying speed, position in the water, hand positions, and by using a variety of equipment designed specifically for the water. The type of program the participant selects is also very important. Most facilities offer a variety of options for water exercise participants, just as they do for land-based group exercise. There are aquatic programs that feature kickboxing, sport specific training, intervals, and circuits. Some classes are designed for pregnant women, participants with arthritis, youth, or those with special needs. If you prefer a more individual approach, consider aquatic personal training to more specifically target your goals and needs. Get wet, and find out what aquatic exercise can do for you!
Check out our aquatics group exercise class calendar for a listing of available water aerobics classes. We also offer Aqua Logix personal training, as well as Aqua Endurance training, among many other options personalized to you and your needs!
Do you frequent the pool? What’s your preferred activity: swimming laps, classes, strength/resistance training, lounging, something else? Tell us in the comments!