People of all ages and fitness levels can enjoy water aerobics.
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Whether you're young or old, overweight, have pains and aches or are just looking to spice up your workout, water aerobics can do the trick. In addition to improving your health, doing at least 150 minutes of moderate water aerobics a week also provides an enjoyable social opportunity since it is a group exercise. Look for lessons at your local gym or recreational centers.
Benefits of Water Aerobics
Water aerobics can effectively tone and strengthen your muscles because the resistance of water is 12 times heavier than air. Exercising in water also burns calories; a 160-pound person can burn about 402 calories by doing one hour of water aerobics. One of the most notable qualities of exercising in water is that the upward force, or buoyancy, eliminates the force of gravity up to 90 percent. This minimizes the impact on your joints and makes water aerobics suitable for those suffering from injuries and conditions such as arthritis. It is also beneficial for people who are looking to alternate cardio workouts like running with lower-impact exercise.
The Initial Warm-Up
Just like a land-based workout, a water-aerobics lesson should always start with a warm-up. This gets your blood flowing, acclimates you to the water, preps your body for the work to come and reduces your risk of injuries. Perform the warm-up in standing-depth water, starting by marching in place for about five minutes while pumping your arms back and forth. Include exercises, such as head rotations, arm circles, shoulder lifts, jumping jacks and leg lifts. Afterward, lightly stretch to promote flexibility, targeting the muscles you'll be using during the main portion of your workout.
Exercises in Water
The main portion of a water-aerobics class can take about 30 minutes and should include a combination of cardiovascular and toning exercises. Think hops, jumps and skiing movements and exercises such as biceps curls, dumbbell press-downs, hamstring curls, triceps kickbacks, front and lateral raises and leg lifts. If you desire extra resistance, use water equipment, such as foam dumbbells, webbed gloves or rubber wrist or ankle circles. For additional buoyancy and a greater range of motion, use a kickboard, water belt or noodle. Finish your workout by cooling down in a similar manner to your warm-up.
Water Aerobics Safety
Consult your doctor before starting water aerobics, especially if you have a preexisting health condition or injury. Make your workout gradually progressive. Go at your own pace and, as your physical fitness improves, slowly pick up your pace to increase the intensity. Beginners can start in waist-level water, and intermediate exercisers can do aerobics in chest-level water. If you're at an advanced fitness level, exercise in deep water where your feet don't touch the bottom. You can wear a flotation belt in deep water. Wear water shoes for added traction and use ear plugs, goggles and a water cap to keep chlorinated water out of your ears, eyes and hair. If you're exercising in an outdoor pool, don't forget to use sunscreen.