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Aqua Aerobics

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 19 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Aerobics Calories Health Heart Lungs

Aqua aerobics is not only a great way to get fit but it is also one of the safest. It keeps the heart and lungs healthy whilst toning the body and reducing fat, and also provides a good opportunity for a splash about in the water.

What is Aqua Aerobics?

As the name suggests aqua aerobics is essentially aerobic exercise in the water. It typically takes place in shallow water at a swimming pool and as part of an organised group session that can last anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour. Workouts usually comprise of routines familiar to those who have experienced land aerobics, and could include jumping jacks, cross-country skiing motion and walking and running backwards and forwards. Workouts also commonly feature such special water devices, such as ‘noodles’ or 'woggles', which are used to aid floatation and resistance.

Safe Exercise

The support the water provides for the body greatly reduces the risk of bone, muscle and joint injury, its density meaning that 90% of a body’s weight is supported. Another way to understand this is that a body weighing 150 pounds, for instance, will only, in theory, weigh around 15 pounds in the water. The stress that gravity puts on the body joints is therefore greatly relieved enabling freer and safer movement. This water support also means that those with back or knee problems can take part in aqua aerobics without fear of pain or further injury.

Water-based heart rate is approximately 13% lower than during land-based exercise because of the reduction of pressure, gravity and temperature on the heart that the water provides. Those with concerns over their heart can therefore feel safer in the water, knowing that water-based exercise is relieved of much of the stress of most land-based exercise.

Not only does aqua aerobics welcome participants of a wide variety of sizes, fitness and health but it is also open to non-swimmers, as the exercise is performed in chest-deep water. It is therefore one of the safest watersports.

Health Benefits of Aqua Aerobics

As well as easing concerns over safe exercising, there are numerous health benefits to performing aerobic exercise in the water. Most significantly it increases cardiovascular fitness, promoting the service the heart provides in pumping blood around the body, and improving aerobic endurance. It also strengthens and tones the body and improves flexibility.

The density of water means that it provides twelve times the resistance of air, and therefore makes an exercise on land twelve times harder in the water. This means participants expend a good deal more energy than their cousins in the gym performing the same routines. The resistance also means that opposing muscle groups are strengthened by pushing against the water.

Nevertheless, much less is accomplished in a 30 minute period and so aqua aerobics is not a major calorie burner. For instance, over such a period aerobic water exercise could burn off around 300 calories.

Exercising in the water is also a great way to relieve stress, as the water massages and cools the body, relaxing the participant as they exercise.

Aqua aerobics is an ideal activity for those wanting to improve the health of their heart and lungs and burn off some calories but without suffering any wear and tear on their bodies.

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