Water, It's Not Just for Swimming Anymore
The Benefits of Water Aerobics
Sandy Sakwa, Water Aerobics Instructor
Fresh Air, water, friends and music---sound like fun? You bet, but it's more than that. It's a great way to stay fit in both body and spirit.
Recent research has shown that water aerobics provides three of the benefits that exercisers want most. It provides a significant cardiovascular workout, helps you lose body fat and gain strength. Research in both shallow and deep water indicates that training in water can significantly improve cardiovascular endurance. The result? Healthier heart and lungs. And lets not ignore the role cardiovascular exercise plays in the increased metabolism of calories.
What about strength? Moving through water is like"lifting liquid weight--the more force you use, the higher the resistance forces that act against youî. This means that stronger you get, the harder you work. Water provides you with a workout that is customized to your abilities. It also means that you get out of it what you put into it.
How does water aerobics work to strengthen abdominal muscles? This might surprise you. When you think of abdominal exercise, you probably think of those abdominal crunches that are so popular in gyms and TV commercials. Vertical water exercise allows you to strengthen muscles in a functional, upright position. Every vertical exercise we do in the water utilizes the core muscles as stabilizers and this is accentuated when we walk or run through the water, adding increased resistance against those stabilizers. Do you remember when you first began to exercise in water? If you think back, you will realize that your ability to ìcontrolî the water has increased significantly. This is a sign that you have increased the strength of the core stabilizers , the abdominal and back muscles.
If youíve been coming to water aerobics for a while, youíve probably also gained cardiovascular endurance, the ability to increase heart and respiration rate and keep it elevated for longer periods of time. Studies show that intensity levels vary with the exercisers skill level and motivation. Motivated, more highly skilled exercisers are able to achieve higher heart rates than non-skilled participants. If you are a beginner, be patient and give yourself time to adapt to the water environment and learn the skills.
Like most things in life, what you put into your water aerobics exercise session will affect how much you benefit. The hour you spend in the pool is your time to focus on achieving the benefits of health and fitness. On those beautiful sunny days, try to resist the temptation to turn the hour into a social hour. But if you find yourself caught up in conversation, remember to respect the needs of your fellow students and take your conversation to a distant corner of the pool.So add a little water to your workout. Last but not least, your effort will result in decreasing stress. You will get stronger, healthier and of course, have fun! See you in the pool.