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Aerobic exercise, also called cardiovascular exercise, is any sustained workout that exercises large muscle groups, increases your heart rate and makes your lungs work harder. Water aerobics is a form of aerobic exercise that takes place in the water and is usually composed of a variety of exercises. Although almost anyone can participate in water aerobics, the sport is ideal for people with back pain, elderly people or people with delicate bone structures and those who would like to lose weight without putting too much strain on their bodies. Consult a doctor before embarking on a regular water aerobics routine.
Water aerobics can benefit almost anyone because of the way it conditions the major muscle groups and works your heart and lungs. This particular form of exercise is especially beneficial to people with fragile bones, such as the elderly. The motions are rhythmic and conditioned by the water, so there is much less stress placed on the joints. The water can also be a more comfortable environment for pregnant women or for people who overheat easily. Stay cool during the warm months by making water aerobics your primary source of exercise.
Join a water aerobics class or work out on your own. Wear a bathing suit that fits you well and allows you to move freely in the water. Water shoes are optional but can provide additional comfort. Swim caps can be worn to keep long hair away from the face and eyes while exercising. If you are in an organized class, the instructor may provide additional equipment such as floating devices like noodles and kickboards.
Water aerobics are composed of a diverse group of exercises. If you are part of a larger class, your instructor will introduce you to many of these, but once you know a few, it is easy to work out independently. Simply find a quiet corner of a pool free of other swimmers. The water should be about as high as your chest. Begin by warming up with a walk or slow jog in the water, slowly increasing your pace. Mix up your workout by trying knee-lifts and jumping jacks. For an upper-body workout, add water weights or push down on a floating device, such as a kickboard.
Always begin your water aerobics workout with a warm-up and cool-down. Perform stretches on the side of the pool before entering the water and after your workout to avoid straining tight muscles. Work out in comfortable temperatures. If a pool is too warm, it can cause nausea. Keep a water bottle at the edge of the pool within easy reach to stay hydrated throughout your workout. If you are unsure about your swimming ability, take lessons before you begin, and stay in supervised water of an appropriate depth if you are a beginning swimmer.