Water aerobics is easy, accessible and suitable for all. Exercising in the water is great for your muscles, gentle on your joints, will get your heart pumping and your lungs working to capacity, as well as being a fabulous mood booster. Follow our tips to get an effective aqua workout every time:
Warm Up and Cool Down
Like every other kind of exercise, it’s important to warm up properly before beginning any intensive workout. You’ll raise the temperature of your body and ease your joints and muscles into activity without shocking your body. Warming up for aqua aerobics also gives you a chance to get used to the buoyancy of the water and find the best posture for your alignment and balance. Cooling down exercises after a workout are just as important to promote recovery and prevent injury. The purpose of ‘cooling down’ is to return your body to a pre-exercise state, and allow your heart rate and breathing to return to normal. Key elements of every warm up and cool down routine should include gentle exercise to raise the heart rate, stretching and deep breathing. Allow at least 10 minutes at the beginning and end of your exercise session for this.
Although in a swimming pool you’re likely to stay cooler and sweat less than if you were exercising at a gym, it’s still important to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.
In general, you should make sure you’re at a point in the pool where the water is about chest height. Too shallow, and you’ll have more impact on your joints, and water that’s too deep will cause you to lose your balance. Of course, certain exercises call for different depths: treading water for example, where you shouldn’t be able to touch the bottom of the pool; or squats, where your head should still be above the water level even when you’re squatting. Use your own judgement and move around the pool as necessary depending on the exercises you are doing. In an organised class the instructor should advise you on the best position for water depth.
You only get what you give, with any form of exercise, and the harder you work the more effective your session will be. The resistance of the water means that the harder you push, the more the water will push back against you. Remember to pace yourself though: it’s better to exercise at 70% for half and hour than 100% for 10 minutes. Design your routine with this in mind, and alternate cardio exercises with stretches and holds so that you’re able to keep going for longer.
Engage your abdominal muscles throughout the workout, whatever individual exercise you’re doing. You’ll find that your core becomes strengthened and you’ll have increased balance – important for staying upright in the pool!
One of the most important elements of any exercise is fun! You’re more likely to keep going with your aqua aerobics if you actually get pleasure from doing it, so join a group, find a friend to exercise with, put some music on and enjoy yourself!