You’ve probably already heard that swimming is a great low-impact, fat-burning cardio exercise. But, maybe you’re not a great swimmer – or you just hate swimming laps. That doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from a fat-busting, muscle-toning pool workout.
If you’re looking for a fun workout that will help you tone muscle all over your body, burn fat, and strengthen your cardiovascular system, without leaving you miserably sweaty, you should try water aerobics. Water aerobics gives you all the benefits of lap swimming, with none of the boring repetition. And you’ll find working out in the pool to be a cool and refreshing way to get and stay in shape.
What Water Aerobics Can Do for You
Water aerobics has a number of fitness benefits. It combines the cardio workout of swimming laps with the muscle-toning potential of weight lifting, but protects the joints from the high impact and injury potential of exercises like jogging and weight lifting. That’s what makes it a popular workout among people with injuries and back problems, pregnant women, and seniors.
But everyone can benefit from water aerobics. When you work out in the water, the water’s buoyancy helps relieve some of the impact on your joints that you’d typically experience when working out on land, so they experience less wear and tear. The water resistance also works in your favor. It can be anywhere from four to 42 times the resistance of air, to tone your muscles from all directions so you gain strength, agility, and flexibility. Water aerobics can also lower your blood pressure, burn 400 to 500 calories an hour, and help you cool off during hot summer months when the thought of going for a jog is exhausting all by itself.
What You Need to Get Started
You don’t need a lot of specialized equipment to get started – you just need access to a pool and a chlorine-resistant swimsuit for water aerobics. Additional equipment you might want or need could include a pool noodle, aqua barbells, and pool shoes for walking or jogging in the pool. Many public pool facilities, especially in fitness centers, have these items available for patrons to use.
Water Exercises for Beginners
You don’t need to sign up for a water aerobics class, although many fitness centers do offer them. Here’s a water aerobics routine you can do on your own, when your schedule allows.
- Warm up. To prepare your muscles for more strenuous exercise, begin by walking back and forth across the shallow end of the pool, or walking laps if the whole pool is shallow, for about two minutes. Swing your arms back and forth under the water as you do so.
- Jog in place. In the shallow end of the pool, jog in place for two minutes. Bring your knees up high as you do so, so that your legs rise out of the water and then go back in.
- Stand with your back to the edge of the pool and rest your elbows on it. Lift up your feet and peddle them under the water as if you were riding a bicycle. Remember to engage your core while doing so. Continue peddling for two minutes.
- Double leg lift. Remaining at the pool’s edge, extend your arms along the edge to hold yourself up. Straighten your legs and hold them together. Lower your feet to the bottom of the pool, then raise your straightened legs as high as you can under the water. Continue lifting for two minutes, or as long as you can.
- Jumping jacks. Do jumping jacks in the pool as you would on land, but try not to let your feet touch the bottom as you bring your legs out and back to center. Do jumping hacks for two minutes.
- Lateral lifts. Stand in the shallow end of the pool and hold an aqua dumbbell in each hand. Holding your arms out straight on either side, push the two dumbbells down through the water to lower your arms straight to your sides. Repeat for two minutes.
- Bicep curl. Use a pool weight or aqua dumbbells to do bicep curls as you would on land, but under the water. Remember to maintain your full range of motion as you perform the exercises under the water for two minutes.
- Cool down. Cool down the same way you warmed up, by walking around in the shallow end for two minutes.
Water aerobics are a great way to burn calories and tone muscle. If you’ve been hearing about how great water exercises are, but don’t want to or can’t swim, water aerobics might be for you. Soon, you’ll wonder how you ever managed to work out on land.