Exercise in the water for a full body, low impact workout
Water exercise (or "aqua fitness," as it is also known) is a relatively new fitness trend, but is growing in popularity for every fitness level. There are lots of different water exercise programs to choose from, whether you're looking for something to help you improve your fitness or rehabilitate from an injury. Water exercise classes are often available at public pools, gyms and health clubs. Most gym memberships include pool access as part of the package, as well as all fitness classes.
Why Water Exercise is Great
Water aerobics exercises have all the health benefits of other forms of exercise, such as cardio workouts and strength training. It can help you lose weight, build muscle and improve your cardio health, depending on the program. There are many to choose from, including strength training programs that make use of water exercise equipment, and cardio programs that involve only the motion of your limbs in the water.
Water workouts use resistance – the water creates a barrier that your muscles must work against. While water can make an exercise routine more challenging, it can also make it less taxing on your body. The buoyancy of water helps reduce stress and impact on your joints. This type of workout is great for anyone with joint pain, back pain or prior injuries, as it allows them to perform exercises that they may not be able to on the floor.
Water Exercise Equipment
Aside from a swimsuit and the usual water gear, like shoes, goggles and a swim cap, you may not need any additional equipment for a water aerobics class. However, many classes increase the intensity of the workout by using different pieces of water exercise equipment, such as:
- Water dumbbells. Water dumbbells are made from sealed foam, making them completely waterproof. They're designed just like a traditional dumbbell, but have a rubberized handle for better gripping in the water.
- Jog belts. A jog belt (also known as a water exercise belt) is a buoyancy belt that holds you up to your shoulders in water, allowing you to "jog" or perform other leg exercises in the water.
- Kickboards. Kickboards are just like the kind you use at the beach. They keep you afloat while you conduct arm, leg and core exercises with the water's resistance.