Water aerobics aka Splash

Many people think water aerobics (or splash) is for the “oldies” and too easy to do.  However, did you know that it is an excellent exercise for any age, male and female, who wants to build endurance, recover after an operation or pregnancy. 

Whether you are swimming laps or peddling in a small pool, being in water is a great workout for the whole body.  Although it is similar to land-based aerobics, the big difference is that it is done in the shallow side of a pool and you work with the resistance of the water and buoyancy, instead of gravity.  

Another distinct difference is that, when you are in the water, your joints are more protected when you run or do jumps (so for anybody with joint problems, arthritis and the like, this is a much safer option than a body conditioning or step class, for example).

During a class, members get to choose how hard they want to work.  For example, if you want to run, then run during the warm-up.  Or just march on the spot.  Although your heartrate might not go up as high as cardio workouts on land, it actually works just as hard due to more blood being pumped to the heart as is a very good way to improve your heart health.  It can help to lower your blood pressure, as well your “bad” LDL cholesterol-levels, whilst raising your “good” HDL cholesterol-levels.

For anybody with a heart issue / heart problem, water aerobics can be a safe option because the whole body is not submerged in water.  I would, however, suggest that a person always consult with his / her medical professional first, before doing any exercise, especially if there is any serious health problems.

Water aerobics are also a very good way to stay in shape whilst pregnant.  Not only will it benefit the mother to keep her strength and suppleness, but it is a very safe environment for both mother and her unborn.  However, it is important for the mother-to-be to remember that, in the last trimester of pregnancy, not to swing / kick her leg out to the side too far, but to stay within her own body’s range of motion.  Widening the legs too far can unlock the pelvis and can trigger an early delivery.

For anybody suffering from diabetes, this is also a good option.  Often, whilst exercising, diabetic people tend to get hot quite quickly.  When you exercise in the water, your body temperature stays the same and, at the same time, it is easier on the feet (due to issues with the nerves in the feet).

Working on balance and core stability are just another reason to get into the pool.  When you are older, your main goal is not to develop a six pack, but rather to keep your balance, mobility and flexibility for as long as possible.  Even younger people, who are stiff because they don’t stretch enough before and after a workout, can benefit from water aerobics.

Water based-exercises is a great way to start exercising when you haven’t been doing anything for a long time, or nothing at all!  Think of it as building a house.  You start by laying the foundation (in the water it is safe and you work with the water’s resistance; so far less skeletal pounding when you run on a treadmill, for example), you work and develop your flexibility, range of motion, mobility, core strength and stamina, then you move onto the land, and incorporate other classes or exercise-routines into your routine.

So; next time when you’re at the gym…don’t shy away from the water aerobics class because there are older people, or because you cannot swim.  Take a chance, put on your swimming costume, and give it a try!  You’ll be quite surprised how difficult it can be, especially if it’s your first time, to exercise in water.

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