Aqua aerobics and other aqua fitness classes are some of our most popular group fitness classes. They offer a great range of benefits, without many of the drawbacks of intense exercise classes. They’ll help you lose weight, get stronger and improve your fitness too, without putting much strain through your joints. This makes them great for people with mobility issues as the water supports the joints, allowing you to get stronger without putting yourself at risk of injury, as well as helping recover from injury.
What are Aqua Aerobics & Aqua Classes?
Aqua classes are exceptionally popular, with thousands taking part every week. There are, however, some long-standing preconceptions that people associate with the classes. These can be anything from believing that it’s the easy option and only for unfit participants, all the way to considering it only suitable for older people.
In truth, however, none of these are true. Aqua classes have more health and fitness benefits than most other group fitness classes and participants typically burn between 400 and 500 calories in each session.
Getting Started on Aqua Classes
Getting started with aqua is simple. All you need to bring along is suitable swimming attire and a bottle of water. Yes, that’s right; you still sweat in the water, so it’s important you stay hydrated throughout the session. Just because you are surrounded by water, it doesn’t mean you’ll stay hydrated. It’s essential you keep taking on fluids to replace those you’ve lost.
Picking the Best Spot in the Pool
This will depend on the style of class, but the best place to stand is where the water comes up to your mid chest. You’ll generally find this is the most versatile for aqua classes. Standing here allows the majority of the exercises to happen under the water which is where you will benefit the most from your exercises.
You don’t necessarily need to be able to swim for most aqua classes and if you’re less confident, you should stand in slightly shallower water and stay closer to the edge of the pool. This means that if at any point you need a break you can step away, while you’re also less likely to get splashed if you’re not in the middle of the class. Meanwhile, making use of extra floats can also offer extra support
How Hard do you Work?
One of the great benefits of aqua classes is that you can go at your own level, without any pressure to push yourself too hard. This means that if you’re new to exercise, or just getting back into it after a long lay-off, then you can gradually work harder each session. Each time you attend, you’ll be building up your stamina and, importantly, your confidence. To get the best results keep your arms legs and core strong and tight as you move. This will slow your movement down but you will get a much better fitness result.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures Afterwards
As with any exercise you should avoid sudden dramatic temperature changes immediately after an aqua session. These include hot/cold showers or using steam or sauna rooms as these can make you dizzy and unwell.
The Benefits of Aqua Aerobics & Aqua Classes
There are loads of benefits to giving aqua classes a go. Not only will it help you burn off extra calories, but it does it in a way that’s gentle on your joints. This means you won’t hurt as much afterwards and will also help with all sorts of other fitness targets. These include improving your flexibility and range of movement, as well as helping to fend off osteoporosis.
One of the key benefits of aqua classes is that they are accessible to everyone, irrespective of their fitness levels, confidence or swimming ability. For starters, you’ll be spending most of the time standing in the water, so swimming isn’t required and you can even use floats to help keep yourself steady if needs be. Furthermore, each class can be taken at your own pace, so regardless of your fitness levels, you can either really go for it or take it more gently until you’re up to speed.
Fun and Sociable
As well as giving you a fantastic workout, aqua classes are a great way to meet new people. Meanwhile, the exercises themselves are great fun and the instructors go to great pains to ensure everyone in the class has a great time.
Aqua Aerobics Decreases Heart Rate & Blood Pressure
In the water, your heart rate is around 10-15% less than it is out of it, due to the increase in pressure. As a result, you can do more exercise thanks to this lower heart rate, while it also reduces your blood pressure while exercising.
Great for Burning fat & Calories
Although the exercise may look gentle, aqua classes are actually among the most effective for burning calories and fat. Most people will burn between 400 and 500 calories during a typical session, depending on how intense you are being.
Aqua Aerobics Improves Muscle Tone, Strength and Stamina.
Every move is working against the resistance of the water, which is between 10 and 12 times thicker than air, You are, therefore, constantly challenging your body, improving muscle tone, strength and stamina.
Low Impact for Joints
Being in the water means that all your joints are supported much more than they would be on land. This means you’re far less likely to have to endure any joint pain compared to, pounding the pavements running. Meanwhile, this extra support also helps in the avoidance of osteoporosis in later life.
Increased Flexibility & Range of Movement
As well as helping you burn calories, lose weight, tone muscles and improve stamina, aqua classes can also help you become more flexible and improve your range of movement. This is, once again, thanks to the resistance offered by the water, helping strengthen your joints and the muscles around them without putting anything like as much stress through them.
Water Dissipates Sweat
Therefore, your body stays cooler and, as a result, you’re able to work harder for longer periods of time. This helps bring about all the health benefits already detailed here.
Great for lowering stress levels
Alongside substantial benefits to your physical health, aqua classes are also great for your mental health. This is largely thanks to the relaxing nature of the exercises, and the natural positive effect that all exercise has on mental wellness.
Difference Between Aqua Aerobics & Other Aqua Classes
There’s a great variety of aqua classes to choose from, including aqua aerobics. They all concentrate on working different parts of the body, depending on what you want to achieve. The benefits remain the same, however, giving fantastic calorie- and fat-burning potential without putting too much stress through your joints. These classes include include aqua aerobics aqua jogging, deep water aqua and aqua circuits.
This class usually begins with a variety of exercises, followed by strength and conditioning exercises using woggles or dumbbells.
This is a fantastic way to get the benefits of going running, but with less impact on your body. Aqua jogging classes are usually held in deeper parts of the pool than other aqua classes and require a couple of pieces of equipment to do properly – water shoes and a flotation belt, the latter of which helps keep you upright in the pool. These sessions are perfect for runners recovering from injury and don’t want to put their recovery at risk.
This class mixes a variety of cardio and strength exercises. The class is split into smaller groups to complete different exercises each, before moving on to a different workout. In this class, you’ll use floats and weights to help build muscle tone and stamina. Meanwhile, other elements will be focused on cardiovascular exercises.
Deep Water Aqua
These are similar to standard aqua classes, with additional swimming elements and make for a more intense workout. You’ll burn more calories and feel more benefits and will need to be a confident swimmer to take part.
Not all these classes are available at all of our centres that have swimming pools, so please check with your specific centre to make sure your preferred class is available.