Make a Splash this Summer


By Karen V. Young

Summer 2018 is almost here. The pools will be open soon, so it’s a great time to introduce water aerobics into your fitness regimen. Water aerobics is a safe and effective alternative to land-based classes, so dust off those swimsuits and get ready to have some fun!

Water aerobics is a fun, cardiovascular workout that burns calories and fat and helps develop leaner muscles. Classes are usually 45 minutes to one hour in duration. Exercising in the water is also easier on your joints because of the buoyancy effect offered by the water environment.

A water aerobics class is a great cardio fitness option for individuals who require a low to zero impact environment. Water aerobics can be performed in either shallow or deep water. Both options offer unique benefits. Deep water classes are designed for individuals wanting zero impact. Participants wear a vest or flotation belt for buoyancy so it allows for greater range of motion of the lower body. Shallow water classes are low impact and are usually taught to upbeat music, which allows movement to be directional with rebounding.

Class formats can vary so there is something for everyone regardless of fitness level and ability. Some classes include strength training by using buoyant weights or a drag piece of equipment which helps to tone and shape the body. Water noodles can also be used to add resistance training, as well as an element of fun.   

ZUMBA®, Yoga and Pilates are land-based fitness programs that can also be integrated to the water. Other popular formats of shallow water aerobics are boot camp, kickboxing and Latin dancing. Aqua jogging and deep water running can also be used as alternatives to a land-based exercise program.

Exercising in the water can benefit virtually everyone, especially people who are rehabilitating after an injury or like to cross-train. People with arthritis or other physical challenges, such as Multiple sclerosis or Cerebral palsy, may benefit from water exercises to help improve fitness and range of motion as well as relieve pain and stiffness. Pregnant women can enjoy water exercises since less stress is placed on their ligaments and joints. If you are getting ready for a triathlon, a water aerobics class is the perfect environment to cross-train.

The age of a participant and physical condition are not concerns in the water. Kids love to play in the water without realizing that it is a great form of exercise, and seniors who rely on a walker or wheelchair can usually stand in water, sometimes without the help of a flotation belt.

If you’re ready to take the plunge with a water aerobics class this summer, be sure to wear water shoes. Water shoes provide traction on the pool floor and help with movement in a shallow water class, as well as provide stability when getting in and out of the pool. In addition, make sure to wear lip balm and sunscreen of at least 30 SPF if you exercise in an outdoor pool. Other safety options include sunglasses and even a hat.

Make a splash, and try a water aerobics class this summer.  It is a great way to meet new friends and have fun while getting healthier together. See you at the pool!

Benefits of Water Aerobics Exercise
  • Increases muscle strength
  • Improves posture, balance and flexibility
  • Alleviates pressure on stiff joints and relaxes sore muscles
  • Is therapeutic and reduces pain and fatigue
  • Enables greater mobility and flexibility of joints
  • Relieves stress and decreases anxiety
  • Burns up to 500 calories in a one-hour class
  • Improves fitness endurance
  • Enhances sense of well-being and sleep quality