Top 10 Benefits of Water Aerobics
by Melis Edwards, Health & Fitness Author
Wondering why you should jump in and try a Water Aerobics Class? Here is a list of the top ten reasons you should give it a try!
Enjoy a Group Fitness Format
If you like group fitness, then you will enjoy water classes just the same. They are instructor led so you can check in as you work hard. The instructor can give you ideas of what you should wear for the specific class, whether it be water yoga or aqua boot camp, they can tell you if a standard bathing suit works, or if you need more specific aquatics gear (i.e., gloves, noodles, swim caps, resistance equipment, water shoes)
Experience the Water Camaraderie
Some people love working out by themselves. Nothing wrong with that. I’ve been an ultra-distance runner half of my life - and that means a lot of time being solo! However, water aerobics is about enjoying a workout with other like-minded people. They respect your fitness as you respect theirs, yet they also know that enjoying each other is a key. I have participated in more lively conversations before, during and after water aerobics classes, and some of my most dear friends today I met over the years in water classes. Instructors also use the water platform to have participants work together - which really can connect the group unlike a standard land based group fitness class.
Dial the workout to your daily needs
If you didn’t know it, you can train the fitness intensity you are seeking, as you would on land. Water workouts can be easy or hard, it is all a matter of what you put into it. This means, the harder you work against the water, the more difficult it will feel…. Why? Water is denser than air; about 800 times actually. This is what causes the resistance experienced. Plan your clothing accordingly as well. The more intense or broader the movement, the more structure is needed in your suit. Consider picking a suit that can accomodate movements which may have you in and out of the pool or jumping in the shallow end; you want the suit to stay in place and not expose body parts. Think of something like a tankini with a racerback or swim jammers or a skort.
Stretch your muscles in a supportive environment
If you are walking into your first yoga, stretching or even a low-intensity water aerobics class, you will notice that the water temperature for these classes are kept higher. With less intense movements described above, you are not generating as much body heat and will need the warmer pool to be comfortable. Depending on the facility, the water temp can be anything from 84 and up to 90 degrees! Some participants may find that wearing a surf shirt and water leggings will also help keep them warm.
Low to no joint impact
Another added benefit to training in water is that there is literally little to no impact on your joints. When on land, you’ll have 100% of gravity experienced, but once you enter the water - the deeper you go the less you feel the effects of gravity. In shallow water, about 40-60% experienced, move up to your neck and you are at 10%! This means that if you need to give your joints a break, or you have been told to workout without joint impact, water training is the place you should go.
Improved breathing and recovery
A lesser known benefit to water training is what happens with the muscles around your ribs (intercostals) and the improvement in your breathing (respiratory system). If you water train with water up to your chest or neck, your muscles in and around your ribs will need to work harder to expand your ribcage for each breath. This means when back on land, and without the water pressure, you will experience an easier time breathing! Also, that water pressure is working against your circulatory system, which also aids in faster recovery times. Better breathing and quicker recovery - a Win Win.
Strength train with less muscle soreness
It doesn’t seem possible to workout hard and have less muscle soreness, as this is not the case for land-based workouts. Water is different. Workout as hard as you would on land; performing sprints, jumps, kicks - you name it - but because of water pressure on your muscles, they are constantly being assisted in recovery. Think of the water pressure as acting a bit like a massage ‘rubbing’ your muscles down right after you worked them. Now, I’m not going to say you won't be sore at all - I definitely am; but it’s not the same degree. This means that you’ll have that active part of muscle breakdown and repair, but won’t “feel” it the same way as you would on land.
Safer rehab environment
Water has always been known as an excellent place to work when you are rehabbing. You already read on the buoyancy effects, the water pressure against your muscles - this all aids to your movements if you are rehabbing as well. There is a ‘thickness’ to water as well (called viscosity) which is very different than workouts on land (air has no thickness). This thickness helps unload the weight experienced by gravity so you can work slowly through almost any type of injury in a completely supported environment.
Stay cooler during harder workouts
During the warmer summer months, training in water can feel refreshing even when you are working hard. The water temperature for an intense class like deep water running or shallow/deep fusion is typically at 80-82 degrees which will keep you from getting too warm during the workout sets. If you are fortunate to be outside during your class, you will need to wear sunscreen, sunglasses, a surf or UV shirt and hat for sun glare and protection.
Yes, Fun! It is amazing how many people who workout forget this simple fact. I know we all have goals with our workouts from dropping weight to gaining muscle; cardio one day and flexibility the next. But, in your list of why you workout should be ‘to have fun’. I’ve been a part of water fitness for over 20 years as both a participant and an instructor and I still have fun every time I teach or participate in a class. Jump in, splash around - and enjoy!
Melis Edwards has over 25 years of experience working in both shallow and deep water training, as a running and triathlon coach, personal trainer, fitness instructor and athlete. Ms. Edwards holds a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion, a Bachelor’s in Health Education, and several teaching and training certifications and is the author of Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. Check out www.hitmethodfitness.com for information on water workshops.