Although traditional workout methods are preferred by a wide majority, aqua exercises are being pursued by many for variety in their exercise routine and to break the monotony and boredom of gym routines. Water exercises like swimming and aqua aerobics are especially great for people with restricted movements due to injury, disease or age. Spiritually speaking, water is a symbol of purity and plays a crucial role in mind and body healing along with providing natural resistance.
Water based exercises have tremendous rehabilitative benefits which means that people with arthritis, back problems, osteoporosis and minor aches and pains can exercise comfortably in water. These exercises improve heart and lung conditioning and strengthen all major muscle groups.However those with any medical conditions, pregnancy, etc must do these exercises under medical and competent supervision.What: Aqua aerobics is a popular form of water based exercising. This is an ideal workout routine even for people who are not good swimmers or for those who have physical limitations. These exercises help strengthen muscles, tone the abdomen, shoulders, arms and thighs and even improve cardio-respiratory functions.How: These exercises are done in a pool with chestor waist-deep water and usually begins with light stretches and warm ups with the guidance of an expert. The exercises can also include kicking, jogging, walking, stretching and even the likes of yoga, power yoga, breathing exercises, pi lates and kick boxing. One can enhance their exercise routine with the use of resistant or buoyant props like flotation belts, light aqua dumbbells, tubing noodles etc.Exercise routine: Following are a few warm up exercises that are beneficial and should be done in waist or knee deep water: Leg raise: Stay in water and rest both hands on the pool’s deck. Hold your feet flat in the water and keep your legs together. Slowly raise the outer leg as high as possible. Hold for 5 counts and repeat this 10 times. The exercise helps tone your waist, abdomen and thighs.Squats: Stand with feet apart in shallow water (waist or chest high). Keep your arms bent at the sides with palms facing up. Slowly bend your knees in a squat position. Make sure that your knees are not extending beyond the toes. Keep your back erect and the abs pulled in. Exhale and stand up. Repeat 8 to 10 times. This helps in toning hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes.Kicks: Go to the edge of the pool, get into a sitting position and place your hands on the deck. Draw knees to the chest. Keeping your toes pointed, ex tend legs. Exhale slowly, hold for 10 counts and return knees to chest. Repeat 5 to 6 times. This helps firms the abdomen, butt and thighs.Arm exercises: Use light aqua dumbbells for bicep curls. Stand with your feet firm in waist deep water. Keep your elbows at your sides or on the railing. Raise one dumbbell and rotate your forearm so that the palm faces the shoulder. Slowly lower and repeat 10 to 12 times. Do the same with the other arm.Water cycle: Rest your back against the wall of the pool with your elbows resting on the edge. Lift your legs up and do cycling motions and count till 25-30. Relax and repeat for another set.This is a great exercise for your abdominals.Triceps extension: Stand firmly in waist deep water. Hold the dumbbells in your right hand and slowly raise the hand over the head. Make sure that your elbows are placed close to your ears. Slowly bend and straighten your arms. Repeat 10 to 12 times and do the same with the other hand.
Combine this with a sensible diet plan that includes a variety of wholesome natural foods like sprouts, vegetables, salads, fruits, whole grains, nuts, low fat milk etc. This ensures sound health, gradual, healthy weight loss, nourishment and cleansing at the highest level.
Healthy living and freedom from stress also involves getting lots of sunshine, fresh air as well as practicing meditation, yoga, positive attitude, and getting adequate rest and sleep.
BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGES
1. Water exercises help in strengthening the abdominal muscles, improving posture and challenging the core muscles to work as stabilisers.
2. Both swimming and aqua aerobics offer a full and total body workout. As water is constantly variable and accommodating, it enables the body and the joints to enjoy free movements. This acts as resistance and helps build strength in muscles.
3. The buoyancy of water gives a buffering effect and this helps anyone regardless of their age, health condition or fitness levels. There is far less impact on back, joints and the knees and therefore reduces injuries and stress.
4. These exercises are highly recommended for recovery and rehabilitation to bring back strength and mobility of the muscles. These are especially helpful for polio rehab, hypertensive and cardiac patients.
5. Aqua aerobics stimulates the nervous system, blood circulation and the digestive system. It also aids in relaxation and sleep and relieves stress.