Aquaexercise for All
Experts in fitness aren't surprised about the health benefits of water exercise and many individuals have found it just the ticket to get in shape. Classes offered vary from traditional water aerobics to bench stepping, yoga, tai chi, deep water running and kickboxing. Your body is buoyant in water, so you don't hit the bottom of the pool as hard as you do with land exercises. Therefore, impact on joints and muscles is reduced. If you have injuries, keep your joints slightly bent instead of straight. This helps to distribute the water pressure throughout the limb, rather than directly on the joint.
Just being in the water causes you to exercise. The continual water pressure that pushes against you while you move makes you push out harder to continue movement. Water exercise is natural resistance training as there is continual resistance to each move you make, creating stronger muscles. Water activities like aqua aerobics, bench stepping, deep water running and kick boxing all are great cardiovascular conditioning workouts. They also naturally increase muscular strength, endurance and flexibility. Finally, they are good calorie burners if done at a high enough intensity.
Yoga, Pilate's and Tai Chi have hit the water too. Aqua Yoga is a harmonious workout, combining the gentle qualities of yoga poses with the relaxing ebb and flow of the water. The water actually can help support the body, easing wear and tear on the joints and increasing balance so performing the poses is a bit easier than on land. Aqua Pilates othen combines the use of tubes to stengthen the core muscles with some cardio so you get the best of both worlds. Finally, Aqua Tai Chi can be described as a meditation of movement involving gentle and fluid exercises that use the water to overcome some of the clumsiness, stiffness and heaviness experienced on land. The fluidic environment helps to free the mind and emotions so the individual is more in tune with the inherent fluidity inside their bodies.
As you can see, water exercise is a booming workout form with new ideas coming out all the time. There are also many products you can buy such as buoyancy and back support belts, shoes to give you better traction on the pool bottom, hand paddles for upper body resistance exercise and weighted belts to increase your workload. So take the plunge and try poolside instead of the gym for your next workout.
About the Author: Dr Lanny Schaffer is an Exercise Physiologist and the President of The International Fitness Academy. For more cutting edge research and ideas in group fitness and general exercise go to Aerobic-Exercise-Coach.com.