Aqua aerobics is a fun, accessible way for people of any age to stay fit. It comes with a whole host of benefits, especially for older folks, that you may not even know about. Heart health benefits, mental wellness, weight loss –– with all these advantages, it’s no wonder that so many people want to take the plunge and try water aerobics themselves.
If you’re eager to throw on your swimsuit and embark on your aqua fitness journey, here are some things you should know before getting started!
Water Aerobics: What To Know
To kick things off, it’s no secret that there are plenty of benefits of water exercises, and that they make wonderful cardio. Water-based aerobic exercise boosts cardiovascular health, keeping your heart strong and active. When it comes to weight loss, many turn to an aquatic fitnessexercise program for a calorie-burning cardio workout that doesn’t involve sweat-stained clothes. From toning your arms to shedding a few inches around the waist, you may be surprised what kind of aesthetic benefits water fitness can have.
Water aerobics can also have a positive impact on your flexibility and strength. The resistance of the water is fantastic for strength training; even just walking through a swimming pool gives your muscles an extra workout as they are forced to work against the thickness of the water.
For people with certain injuries or those of advanced age, working out in a pool is often a better option to protect their joints. Because of the buoyancy of water, this is a low-impact exercise –– meaning it doesn’t put pressure or stress on your joints the way on-land cardio, like jogging, does. That makes it fairly accessible even for many of those who have disabilities or physical health concerns. People with arthritis can feel relief in warmer water temperatures.
Additionally, swimming and exercising in the water have been shown to have mental wellness benefits. Spending time in the water can equate to less stress, lower levels of anxiety and depression, and an overall better mood. Doing water-based activities with your family can also help strengthen family bonds and social relations.
How To Practice Safety in Water Aerobics
Activities in water, especially for very young or very old participants, are best approached with caution and care. Even strong swimmers can fall prey to exhaustion when they’re not paying attention. That’s why having a lifeguard on hand is vital for any kind of pool sport or exercise.
Practicing exercises in shallow water is generally advisable. While some exercises call for chest-deep water, most can be achieved in water that is only waist-deep. This reduces the risk of becoming fatigued or even drowning.
Lastly, it’s important to check in with your body and be aware of your own physical limits. Because water offers natural support and also disguises any sweat, you may not realize when your body is becoming overwhelmed. Take breaks to make sure you aren’t becoming overly fatigued, exhausted, or strained.
What Steps Should I Take To Get Into Water Aerobics?
Plenty of local pools and gyms offer water aerobics classes for different skill levels. Doing aqua fitness in a group setting is a great way to get started –– not only is it safer to be supervised, but you will also have people to keep you motivated and help you stick to your goals.
Another alternative to a class is finding a private instructor or trainer. This might be more expensive, but you will get personalized advice, workouts, and instructions from an expert. They can also be more aware of your physical restrictions and body goals.
Although having some supervision while in the water is important, you can also start doing aquatic exercises on your own. There are also very basic moves, like water walking, that you can practice fairly easily without anybody’s help. You can even enlist a friend or two to do these with you!
What Supplies Will I Need for Aquafitness?
A lot of aquafitness doesn’t require much more from you than simply a swimsuit and a pool. However, for a bit more of an extensive rundown, here is an idea of the kind of supplies you might want for your water workout.
Swimsuit: The most important piece of equipment for any swimmer is their swimsuit! When it comes to working out in the water, you may want to opt for a one-piece suit that allows a wide range of motion and has more of an athletic feel.
Goggles: While not strictly required, a pair of goggles can come in handy if you plan on going underwater and want to protect your eyes.
Kickboard: A kickboard is one of the most common pieces of equipment used in aqua fitness. It can be used for extra resistance or for extra balance.
Foam Weights or Water Weights: Foam weights or dumbbells designed for use in water can be a useful tool when trying to tone your arms.
Stopwatch or Waterproof Watch: Whether you’re timing yourself or having somebody else time you, a time-keeping device will help you stay on track while working out.
Pool Noodle: Much like kickboards, pool noodles are often called for in aqua fitness.
Swim Cap: Swim caps can help protect your hair from chlorine damage.
Should I Stretch Before My Water Aerobics Workout?
As with any full-body workout, a proper pre-exercise stretch is always a good idea to avoid soreness and injury. It also improves your flexibility. Before stretching, warm up your muscles with a light walk or a five-minute swim, as this will be more effective than stretching on cold muscles. You should also stretch after your workout.
Pro-tip: Do your post-workout stretch in a warm shower as you rinse off the pool water!
What Should I Eat on the Day of My Water Aerobics Workout?
Exercising, particularly in a horizontal swimming position, can sometimes make gastric influx more prominent. That’s why you should stick to small, light meals before heading off to the pool. Eating something is important to give your body energy, but you should also allow yourself time to digest.
Stick to easily digestible food with high nutritious value. They should also feature a proper amount of carbohydrates, as this is what will give your body fuel during high-intensity work. Porridge or muesli with berries is a good pre-workout breakfast.
You should naturally avoid foods that may upset your bowels in any way, such as highly fatty or spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, or food that is especially high in fiber, which may leave you running for the bathroom.
Swimming and exercising in the water have a ton of physical and mental advantages. Not only can it help you feel better, but regular exercise can help you slim down and be more confident in your body. With minimal prep and equipment required, it’s easy to want to join in on the fun. So what are you waiting for –– why not see if you can find a free introductory course near you to get started?