Pool in your energy
Aqua aerobics is an effective cardio activity, especially for those who have lower body musculoskeletal injuries or weaknesses
I am a great fan of aqua aerobics! It’s a super workout choice, during the hot and humid months. Here, we explain what is aqua aerobics and its benefits
What is aqua aerobics?
Aqua Aerobics is a very effective cardio activity involving a pool full of people working out to choreography and music. Aqua aerobic equipment such as aquabells, aqua noodles, aqua gloves and aqua balls are used during this workout.
The added resistance of the water is used to challenge the body and muscular structures for greater benefit.
Why aqua aerobics?
It’s a super workout for anyone. As one is very buoyant and 90 per cent of the body weight is borne by the water, this particularly makes for a great workout option for those who have lower body musculoskeletal injuries or weaknesses. It’s highly advisable for older exercisers and is also a super Prenatal & Postnatal workout choice.
How will I benefit from it?
Benefits include fat, inch and weight loss, a healthy back, strength, stamina, a full-body workout, rehabilitation (knees, neck, spine, ankles, hips), flexibility, improved balance, posture and coordination.
Sample Aqua Exercises
Exercise # 1 - Upper body and core training
This is a great compound exercise as it targets all of the upper body muscles and also the midsection at one go. Stand with your legs, hip width apart in the aqua pool. Bend your arms and hold a pair of aquabells just under your chin. Keep the abdominals held in tightly, and push the aquabells straight downward into the water while straightening your arms out. Exhale while doing this. Inhale while very slowly bending the arms and returning back to the starting position. The aquabells will want to push their way up to the water surface in a hurry. Don’t let that happen. Control it and come up very slowly in order to challenge the muscles to a greater degree. Be careful not to lean forward through the exercise; just stand erect.
Exercise # 2 - Abdominal work
This is a super exercise as it works all four sets of abdominal muscles simultaneously — the main six pack, the lower abs and also the two sets of waist muscles that we have on either side. Get an aqua noodle behind your upper back and grip it with both arms on either side of you, allowing the aqua noodle to come out from under your arms. Lean back into the aqua noodle. Keeping the abdominals tightly held in all through the exercise, bring both knees to the chest while exhaling and straighten the legs out diagonally to the right side while inhaling. Repeat, but to the left side now. Right and left are counted as one. The straighter and higher the legs, the tougher the exercise. As both legs are off the floor of the pool, you will tend to float around while doing this. It’s okay initially to take some help and lean back onto the edge of the pool, but at a later stage, try not to. Try at that point to use your muscles (specially of the core) effectively to hold you in the same spot and thereby disallow the float factor to transport you to a different location in the pool.
Exercise # 3 - Hips & Thighs
Working the gluteals (butt muscles) and the hamstrings (back of the thighs), face the pool edge and hold on to it. Lean forward all through the exercise. Lift the right leg backward slowly while exhaling and lower while inhaling. The higher you lift the leg and the less you lower it, the more challenging the exercise. After finishing all the required repetitions and sets on this leg, repeat from the beginning with the left leg.
(Tip: All exercises are to be done for 2 sets of 10 - 12 each to begin with).
The writer has trained, taught and certified in America as a fitness professional by American Council on Exercise and International Dance Exercise Association. She founded Body Art, the Fitness Centre in 1992. For more information, log onto www.bodyart.in