What does your mind conjure up when you hear the term "water exercise"? Is it a bunch of older women wearing skirted swim suits and flowered swim caps while bobbing around in the shallow end of the pool? How about a bunch of older men wearing speedos while swimming laps? If those are the types of images you're conjuring, it may be time for you to take a field trip to your local swimming pool to check out the water exercise options.
More: 4 Water Workouts to Try
Water exercise has become a big business in recent years. With baby boomers hitting their 50s and 60s, and with a greater population of overweight and obese individuals than ever before, water exercise enables those who may find land-based exercise uncomfortable or painful to continue maintaining an active lifestyle. Consider just a few of the benefits of water-based exercise:
- Improved cardiovascular fitness.
- Improved muscular strength.
- Improved balance and coordination.
- Improved flexibility.
- Improved mental health.
- Ability to exercise without impact—this allows individuals with chronic pain or inflammation to exercise with minimal irritation.
- The buoyancy of the water enables individuals who are overweight or obese to take the stress off their bones and joints while exercising.
You can find an aquatic version of almost every land-based exercise out there. This means that whether you're a cycling chick, a boot camp guy, or a rock-climbing diva, there's an aquatic fitness opportunity that will match your exercise preferences. Granted, facilities do have to cater to their demographics, so if you're in a small town with an older population, you may have a hard time finding an Aqua Zumba class, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Consider a few of the following aquatics classes offered in facilities around the country:
- Ai Chi (aquatic Tai Chi)
- Aqua Zumba
- Aqua Cycling
- Water Circuit
- Tsunami Bootcamp
- Water Weights
- Water Walking/Water Jogging
- Flipped Out (A class done while wearing flippers)
- Arthritis Class
Finding a Class
Call your local fitness center or community swimming pool and ask if they offer a variety of different water exercise classes. Most facilities will allow you to watch or try out a class for a day to see if it's the workout you were hoping for. Choose a class or two and check them out. And remember, you don't have to be an awesome swimmer to partake in water-based fitness. You just can't be afraid of getting wet.fitness class.