With public pools imposing strict regulations this summer, many water aerobics classes have either been modified or canceled completely. Whether your class was canceled or you just don’t feel comfortable exercising with a group of people yet, you can still do your workout at home.
We talked to local water aerobics teachers, Chechena Furlow of Chinquapin Park Recreation Center & Aquatics Facility and Dorian Traynham of Reston Community Center, to see what tips they have for someone who wants to take their water aerobics exercises to their backyard pool.
Tips for First-Timers
With the heat constantly hitting 90 degrees this past month, you may have thought of taking your daily workout to the pool to cool off. But before you start, Traynham recommends checking with your physician.
“Always check with your physician, but I imagine they will recommend any form of water exercise,” she explains. “Being in the water can be a relaxing experience. That being said, some people will only get in shallow water because they like to keep their feet on the bottom.”
Along with being a relaxing experience, both instructors mentioned the benefits water aerobic exercises have for those that have joint pain or are recovering from surgery.
Traynham mentioned the increased circulation and reduced swelling brought by walking in the water is a great benefit of water aerobics. Furlow further explains, “Most importantly, water aerobics is geared toward a non-weight-bearing exercise. If you have some pre-existing concerns, such as lower back pain, knee problems, hip problems, etc., water walking would be ideal.”
Grab Extra Equipment for a Boost
Water aerobics doesn’t have to be just doing cardio in a pool. It can also include a few extra tools to help increase your intensity and build muscle.
Traynham says people can use a readily available and low-cost pool noodle to add resistance to their workouts when working with the arms. Another piece of equipment that can be added to a water aerobics workout is the barbell. Coming in a variety of shapes and sizes, barbells can increase resistance while adding strength training to your workout.
“If all else fails, you can always use the barbells,” Furlow says. “You can’t really get into too much trouble with the barbells, but you may run into a little bit of a risk when you’re using the flotation device.”
Exercises to Try at Home
When it comes to doing water aerobics in your own pool, there are a variety of exercises that can be done safely. In a 30-minute session, Traynham suggests a variety of moves to get your heart rate up.
In shallow water, people can practice walking or jogging, walking backwards, swinging the arms and kicking their feet up as they walk. Exercises like jumping jacks, side stepping and resistance training with the noodles can also increase your cardio.
Traynham also says that those who are comfortable with deep water can add a few other exercises and equipment, like jogging in place, walking or using weights or noodles, kick boards and weight balls.
One thing people who practice water aerobics on their own will have to keep in mind is the safety aspect. When practicing in a class, participants have instructors keeping an eye on form and lifeguards making sure participants stay safe in the water. But at home, many people are on their own.
When practicing in your backyard pool, Furlow suggests staying in shallow water. “I would recommend that you are in shallow water because if you lose your footing and you’re home alone, I don’t know what could happen,” she says.
Traynham also mentioned another way to stay safe in your private pool is to include someone else. She suggests having someone check in on you during your workout or inviting a friend to join your workout session.
Another key safety tip that both instructors stress is staying hydrated. “Even in the water, you need to hydrate. Always bring your water bottle,” says Traynham.
Take Your Workout on Land
There are ways to transform your water workout to land if you don’t have a private pool or your community pool is closed for the summer.
Traynham says other low-impact exercises, like walking and running, Pilates, yoga or tai chi, are comparable to many of the water exercises done during class.
If you are looking for a way to take the weight and impact of your joints, chair exercises are also an option for land exercises. Furlow recommends “a chair, because you take the weight off your joints and you’re still able to get the cardio, as well as the body conditioning, without overextending yourself.”
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