Sunday, May 13, 2007

Why I Love Water Aerobics

In my experience, water aerobics are the best form of exercise. Here are my reasons:

* Comfort ~~ I exercise strenuously and really sweat, but I don't care. I just splash some water on my forehead and keep going. That's the most important reason why water aerobics is the perfect form of exercise for me. I hate to sweat. Ever. Anywhere. For any reason.

* Community ~~ There is a group of wonderful women who also attend class regularly. They are friendly, chatty, and always make me laugh. They always have great stories to share. And if I miss class, they notice and ask me where I've been.

* Fresh air and sunshine ~~ I love being in the outdoor pool when the weather permits. I've always loved to swim and hang out by the pool. That was the one thing I hated about selling my house and moving into my parents' home -- I had to give up the neighborhood pool. So going to the pool at my health club is the next best thing.

* Low impact ~~ The buoyancy of the water cushions the impact so it is a safe activity for me, given my history of retinal detachments. That also makes it a good form of exercise for folks with joint problems (subject to physician approval, of course).

* Improves breathing ~~ Since resuming classes, my asthma has improved dramatically. I still use my albuterol inhaler before class if I feel that I need it, depending on weather conditions, etc.

* Self-confidence ~~ For the most part, my classmates are women. All of the really buff guys don't come into the pool area during class. When I was younger, this would have been a much more important consideration than it is now, but it is still nice not to have to worry about who is watching you jump around in a bathing suit.

* Whole-body workout ~~ Water aerobics provides a cardiovascular workout for your whole body -- legs, arms, stomach, tush . . . With a slight variation in movement, you address another muscle group. So you can always engage in another kind of exercise, too, but it is not necessary.

* Variety ~~ The many different kinds of movement ward off boredom. Jogging, walking, treading, jumping jacks, cross-country, bunny hop, frog jump, rocking horse and several variations of each are just some of the different moves and, as noted above, slight variations change not just the routine, but the emphasis. I really enjoy intervals (timed periods of all-out effort), especially without touching the bottom of the pool (more strenuous).

* Pump it up ~~ To add intensity, use weights (some people call them buoys) or webbed gloves that increase the resistance level. What I love most is using the heaviest weights and jogging like crazy. It feels great to get my heart pumping and really works off the fat!

* Self-paced ~~ You adjust the level of intensity, depending upon your condition and endurance. Unlike some sports, you can start out slow and gradually increase the difficulty as your stamina improves. In any given class, people are working at infinite different paces and that's just fine. The important thing is that they are there.

* Burns calories ~~ Water aerobics burns more calories than many other sports and is a great way to eliminate fat and develop lean, healthy muscles.

Here are some helpful resources:

* Water Aerobics
* How to Perform Water Aerobics to Improve Lower Body Strength
* How to Perform Water Aerobics to Improve Flexibility
* Water Aerobics Exercise
* Water Aerobics: A Fat Girl's Guide to Taking the Plunge
* Water Aerobics Equipment

What is your favorite form of exercise? What works for you? Are there any forms of exercise that you avoid? Why? Leave a comment and a link to your site!

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This article is an entry in Middle Age Shed's "Carnival of Dieting Tips" and The Biggest Loser Carnival at Don's Biggest Loser Blog.