The more than 10 million people who are taking aquatics or water workout classes are improving their health in a fun, non-impact way, according to the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP).
Why are pool classes so popular? “When the body is submerged in water, there is less weight to support. This allows for more intense workouts without incurring the usual wear and tear associated with ground-based workouts. Water is more resistant than air, so a 30-minute pool workout is similar to a longer lasting ground-based workout without the usual impact force,” AARP explains.
Water workouts are usually performed vertically in shallow water without swimming, but focusing on resistance training. Pool workouts can be enhanced with kickboards, buoyancy belts, and Styrofoam dumbbells. Wearing aquatic shoes help improve footing in the water, and prevent foot scrapes.
Water aerobics and other pool workouts are recommended for people suffering from arthritis or other joint problems, sports injuries, bad backs, or other physical limitations. AARP says, “An hour of brisk water-walking can burn as many as 500 calories.”
Other benefits of water exercise include improved posture, balance and flexibility; increased strength and muscle tone; fall prevention skills; and reduced risk for injury. Social interaction is a plus, too.
AARP adds, “Water workouts are generally safe for most people. But since water pressure on your body can initially spike your blood pressure, you should start in the shallow water” if you have blood pressure issues.
When choosing a water workout class, AARP recommends researching the teacher’s qualifications, and making sure that the pool is clean and well maintained. Pools with a comfortable temperature, between 85 to 90 degrees, are ideal for people with joint problems.