Remember your last dip at the local swimming pool complex, where you merely swam up and down the lanes until your goggles fogged and you ran out of breath? Or what about the times when the formidable strokes and strong pace of aggressive lap swimmers somehow relegated you to the sides and you had to make do with the perimeter of the pool to execute your Yoda-paced breaststrokes?
Well, those days are numbered. Aqua aerobics is making a comeback, with some centres offering a variety of creative water exercises, such as Zumba and kickboxing in the pool, to give your workout that added splash of fun.
Aqua aerobics may not appear to be much of a workout at first glance, but experts suggest that water exercises can help you beat cellulite, burn calories, lose weight and tone up faster than ordinary exercises. Unlike your typical land activities, aqua aerobics forces you to work against pressure and natural resistance, so your muscles are essentially putting in more effort and exertion, but you do not feel it as much, due to the buoyancy.
Aqua aerobics bestow upon you similar cardiovascular benefits as land exercises, but with a lower heart rate, and hence, enable you to burn more calories and put less stress on your heart. Alongside a reduced-calorie diet, people of all ages and abilities can shed pounds and gain fitness with regular water aerobics sessions several times a week.
Why Aqua Aerobics?
The main benefit of exercising in water is not the fact that you get to show more skin and feel like Heidi Klum. On the contrary, water aerobics offers your joints major protection from the harsh land terrains that elevate wear and tear on the cartilage of a joint, as there is no gravity forcing your body weight down onto your joints.
Running, for instance, is one of the most high-impact exercises on land — every time your foot strikes the pavement, your knee joints absorb the impact. Not only that, a shock equivalent to five times your body weight will travel up your legs and to your spine.
Researchers have found most marathon runners to be approximately one centimetre shorter after they finish a race. They are not pulling your leg, and neither are we. This occurrence is due to the repetitive shock motion in the runners’ strides that triggers the muscles in the legs, back and neck to tighten, leading to the compression of the vertebrae in the spine. Water exercises remove this shock impact factor out of the equation. Experts believe that the buoyancy of the water can ease the impact on your joints by more than 85 percent.
Moreover, being a low-impact workout, many athletes adopt aqua aerobics as part of their rehabilitation exercise for post-injuries. Exercising in water enables them to train and maintain their fitness level, without putting additional stress on a weak joint while recuperating.
Strengthen Your Cardiovascular System
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, a mere 150 minutes of a pool workout in a week can help reduce your risk of chronic illnesses. Aqua aerobics can improve your cardiovascular and respiratory system in the same ways as cycling or running, if not more effectively. Water is approximately 800 times denser than air, so that translates to 12 times more resistance for every movement you make in the pool.
Eliminate Visceral Fat
The most dangerous fat is the one that lies deep in your belly around your inner organs. Notoriously known as visceral fat, this all-time great villain is linked to heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Aerobic exercises or your cardio workouts are your best bet at burning visceral fat, and the most effective aerobic activities are the most intensive ones, say health experts. Therefore, to burn the most abdominal fat, choose an aqua aerobics class that focuses on vigorous activity, such as Zumba or kickboxing, over the light or moderate one with seniors waving their hands in the air and smiling throughout.
No wonder Aquaman looks so yummy!
Vanquish Your Pinchable Fat
Although visceral fat poses a much bigger threat, you may be equally eager to burn the subcutaneous belly fat that your spouse so loves to pinch. The only way to eliminate this fat is through a caloric deficit, which occurs when you burn more calories than you eat. Aqua aerobics fits the bill as it burns significant calories and in dramatic fashion, depending on the intensity of the session.
An average adult will burn between 120 and 200 calories in 30 minutes of water aerobics, subject to their body weight and intensity of the workout — the more you weigh, the more calories you will burn. However, you will not burn as many calories as you would in a step aerobics session.
Take the Plunge
Working out is definitely more enjoyable when you are splashing around with your friends in your gym or community pool. Water exercises are effective in burning fat and provide healing benefits too, such as easing the symptoms of arthritis and fibromyalgia in patients.
Aqua aerobics is ideal for anybody and everybody. Got bad knees? Try water exercises to alleviate your joints. Lifting weights becoming mundane? Hit the pool for water resistance training.
Signing yourself up for aqua aerobics class is a fun way to boost your caloric expenditure for efficient, long-term weight loss — no swimming aptitude or bikinis required, either.