Friday, January 31, 2014

Guest Article from Becky: Aqua Aerobics - Exercises and Benefits

Hey guys,

this one is a premiere. I haven't had a guest post before and I actually hadn't thougth about it until my friend Becky Flanigan came up with the idea of writing a guest article about Aqua Aerobics, which is a field where I don't have a lot of experiance in. I liked her idea and as she has the necessary experiance in both, writing and aqua aerobics, I really appreciate her offer.  Normally I write about hard bodyweight, gym or kettlebell workouts so this is a chance to provide you with some insights in another kind of exercises. I hope you enjoy reading it and if you try it out tell us how you feel about it (btw. even the hard guys can profit from aqua workouts as they demand different efforts from your body and variation in training is pretty important). People who love water or suffered a joint injurie can also profit a lot of working out in the water because of the lower impact on their joints, bones and so on.

I proudly present Becky Flanigan's article:

6 Aqua Aerobics Exercises and Their Benefits

To work out in the water, there are some great exercises to choose from. You can get the same benefits you would with a similar workout on land, but with the great advantage of water – low impact. Here are 6 exercises to try:

1) Flybacks. Standing in chest deep water, bend slightly forward and put your arms out in front of you, with palms reversed so your thumbs point down. Pull your arms in a wide arc until they parallel your shoulders. Reverse your palms and bring them back forward. This exercise is great for your arms, upper chest and back.

2) The plank. In chest deep water, using a hard rubber tube commonly called a foam noodle, place your hands shoulder width apart, and let yourself sink down into the water – make sure to keep your back straight. Hold that pose for as long as possible, and repeat several times if you can. This will work your core better than almost any other exercise, without the strain of situps.

3) Aqua jogging. In the local pool, find the time when the lap lanes are open for swimmers. The water is typically about chest deep, which will provide great resistance. Wear an old pair of sneakers – you’ll be pushing forward enough to scuff your feet on the concrete. Move up and down the lanes with a slow jogging motion. You’ll be able to feel the water making you have to work to push through it, and your legs will quickly feel it as well. This will provide excellent cardio benefit and work your legs well, and a lot quicker than you might think.

4) Aqua tai chi. This exercise routine is best performed with a class – many gyms have them on the schedule. Tai chi is a meditative form of a slow martial art, and in the water the routine has an added soothing effect that is tremendously peaceful. The class moves through a series of poses, transitioning from one to another in a combination which feels almost like a slow dance pattern. This workout will provide calming, help learn to coordinate breathing with the movements, and make the participant work to stay in balance.

5) Climb the walls. If your kids have been getting to you, this is a way to climb the walls and get some benefit from it. In chest deep water, stand near the side of the pool. Begin working your arms in a treading water motion, and while doing that, walk your legs up the side of the pool, then back down. Alternate the leg you lead with each time, and try to get in 10 to 15 repetitions to a set, and do 2 to 3 sets. This exercise will give you an excellent cardio element, work out your legs, and you’ll really feel it in your arms once you’re through.

6) Pool cardio. This is an interval exercise, so try to keep going for up to 3 minutes if you can. In chest deep water, run a zigzag motion from side to side of the pool, to stir up the water and create some turbulence. As you move back and forth through that turbulence, your body will have to work harder, especially the core. Lean into the water with a good running posture, making sure to keep your back straight. This exercise will give you an excellent cardio benefit. If you can keep this up for 3 minutes, you’ll definitely be breathing hard.

If you perform a balanced set of exercises in the water, you can get out of the water with a smile, knowing you’ve gotten in a great workout session!

Becky Flanigan enjoyed writing classes in school, and uses those skills when writing freelance articles for InTheSwim.com. Becky likes spending time with her husband, 3 kids, and 2 golden retrievers. She spends many happy hours at the family swimming pool, watching the kids and dogs splash and play. She also enjoys watching Downton Abbey.

I hope you liked Becky's article! Feel free to share your thoughts down in the comment area.

Cheers,
Andi