Aquatic exercise (also known as water-based exercise or aqua aerobics) is a type of exercise where you perform physical activity in water. It’s an accessible and safe way to get fit and healthy, and to stay that way.
Aquatic exercise can be enjoyed by people of all ages and levels of fitness — from beginners, who may want to improve their mobility, to seasoned athletes, who may want to speed up recovery times.
The benefits of aqua aerobics
Aquatic exercise is enjoyable and you don’t have to be a swimmer to benefit. It’s suitable for almost anyone, including people with arthritis or other conditions that limit their movement on land.
Benefits of water workouts include:
Lowered stress on joints and muscles:
Water provides some natural resistance as you move, so you can strengthen your muscles without putting stress on bones and joints.
Rehabilitation from injuries:
Buoyancy supports your weight in the water, which means less stress on your body. That’s why many professional athletes use aquatic exercise during rehabilitation from injuries.
Warm water helps relax muscles and improves joint mobility, which may help relieve pain from arthritis and other conditions. In addition, the warmth of aqua aerobics reduces muscle spasticity and relieves pain for some people with multiple sclerosis (MS) or other neurological disorders.
Increased range of motion:
Water provides natural resistance against movement in all directions, helping to strengthen and stretch your muscles at the same time. In addition, the pressure of the water on your body increases circulation, which helps deliver nutrients to your tissues and carry away waste products that lead to stiffness and pain. Combine these benefits with improved balance and coordination, which comes with regular practice
Top 9 health benefits of aquatic exercises:
- You’ll improve your overall fitness.
- You’ll take stress off your joints.
- Your blood flow will increase.
- The water helps you build lean muscle mass.
- The resistance of the water helps you burn more calories.
- It can help relieve pain and stiffness from arthritis.
- It can boost your mood and fight depression.
- Your balance will improve.
- You’ll have less chance of injury than with land-based activities.
3 Phases of Aquatic exercise:
- Warming phase
- Active / Stretching exercises phase
- Cooling phase
Getting started with aqua aerobics:
Aquatic exercise can be a great way to get fit, especially if you have joint problems or other medical issues.
Water is much easier on the joints than land-based workouts, and the buoyancy helps support your body. Plus, the resistance of the water provides a great strength-training workout.
And you don’t have to swim to reap the benefits. Aqua aerobics combines cardio and strength exercises with the resistance of water to build muscle and burn calories. The classes are typically low-impact and designed for people who may be new to exercise or who are coming back after an injury.
You’ll need access to a shallow pool — about chest deep — and some sort of flotation device (such as a noodle or life jacket) that will help keep you afloat while you’re moving around in the water.
To get started, work with your doctor to find a class that’s appropriate for you, then talk with the instructor about any limitations you may have.
Takeaway: Participating can benefit people of all ages and fitness levels.