Water Aerobics Adding a Splash to Your Workouts

Splish, splash, we were taking a class. Workin' out on a Saturday night. Well, we're hoping that you actually have more exciting plans for your Saturday night adventures. But either way, you'll see this almost every morning on Kiana's "Flex Appeal," those bubbling beauties draped in bathing suits, flotation belts clasped around their waists and aqua gloves covering their paws.

It isn't exactly the newest craze to come splashing onto the fitness scene, but water aerobics is no doubt one of its most desirable. Just take a look at the dazzling smile across Kiana's lips. Water aerobics is not only a fun way to maintain sound cardiovascular fitness, but it's also an excellent method in which to tone your body and muscles. All the while, you're enjoying all the benefits of a refreshing dip in the pool.

And you don't need to be Aqua Man to partake in such classes. Water aerobics has long been viewed as a recreational workout geared at an older, more subtle, health-conscious crowd. That's because in many ways, it is. No, water aerobics may not be the most ideal method for burning those calories up. You won't likely feel the sweat pouring down you in funnels the way you might on a Stairmaster or treadmill. And it isn't going to prepare you for next year's marathon.

But it is a fine way to exercise your heart and lungs while toning the various muscles. The water provides a great form of resistance. Water aerobics also takes mercy on your joints. You're not likely to feel the soreness you would after, say, the relentless pounding of a step aerobics class. It is certainly a low-impact exercise and in many instances, depending upon the depth of the pool, non-impact. In fact, to many physicians, this form of aerobics has been highly regarded as an effective method of physical therapy and rehabilitation from various injuries.

Although many classes recommend additional workout tools to facilitate you - things like water weights and hydro gloves - all you really need is your swimsuit. However, water shoes, which will keep you from slipping on wet surfaces, may be a good investment. Water classes usually kick off with a warm up segment that generally runs around ten minutes or so, light movements in both your arms and legs, geared at increasing your blood circulation. There is also light stretching during this warm-up. From there, the instructor will lead the class through a number of cardiovascular activities, exercises that are rhythmic and aimed to work your entire body.

These include anything from jumping jacks to jogging in place. Meanwhile, the water, of course, provides excellent resistance. The comfort of a water aerobics class is that you are at liberty to go at your own pace, depending on your level of fitness.

In other words, this is a workout class, not boot camp. While the exercises are accompanied by music, as is the case in any other aerobics class, here the tunes are of a much softer tempo. The class concludes with a cool down session for you to unwind with. This segment, running just a few minutes or so, also includes some light stretching, designed to prevent injury.

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