Of course, telling you that I’m bored implies that I’ve actually been going. I’ve been super lazy lately and it’s probably part of the February blahs but I just needed something new and different.
I’ve actually wanted to try an Aqua-Fitness class for a long time but had the usual reservations:
- Aqua-Fitness is for old people
- Aqua-Fitness isn’t really a work out
- Aqua-Fitness isn’t challenging
- Aqua-Fitness is boring
But the other night, I just HAD to get out of the house and there happened to be an Aqua-Fitness class running at the local community centre nearby. Hmmm. How hard could it be? So, I dragged my ass off the couch, suited up and went.
Well. Let me tell you right now. Aqua-Fitness is fun but it’s no joke.
First of all, the instructor was a delightful young woman; fit, energetic and funny. She was excited to have me when I approached to tell her it was my first time and she kept an eye on me (and another lady who was also an Aqua-Fitness virgin). She was great at giving additional instructions or modifications if it looked like we were struggling.
There were 12 people in the class – 11 women and one man. The man appeared to be there by himself so he wasn’t dragged there by his wife. He was middle aged, reasonably fit and seemed to know what he was doing. This was definitely not his first kick at the water can.
I wasn’t the youngest person there but I wasn’t the oldest either. Neither was I the fittest or the least fit (aka. not the smallest but not the biggest). This made me feel a little more comfortable being in my bathing suit with these people I’ve never met before.
That being said, it’s probably easier to be in a bathing suit with people I don’t know than with people I do know. The whole point is moot though because I was in water up to my mid-chest so no one could see me anyway.
Except for the instructor. The instructor didn’t get into the water. This made sense because, if she did, we wouldn’t be able to see her and also, because she was standing higher, she could see that everyone was doing the movements correctly.
We started with some jumping to warm up while the music was being loaded. And then things got interesting.
Now, Aqua-Fitness is not a complicated work out. It’s basically your standard aerobics and calisthenics movements but, because you’re in the water, it’s kind of slow motion. Don’t be fooled though, the slow motion doesn’t make it easier, it’s slow motion because your arms and legs are pushing against the water. These simple, slow motion movements have now become great resistance training.
A good example is jogging in place. Jogging in place is great cardio in or out of the water but when you’re pushing against the water every time you bring your knee up and push your foot down, you’re actually adding weight training to your cardio. It’s a two for one!
It’s the same thing with your arms. All we were doing was moving our extended arms back and forth with our palms open but it was exhausting! Exhausting because we were pushing the water. I don’t know how long we moved our arms like that but after we were done, my arms were like jello and my biceps were burning. But that was nothing compared to the burning in my triceps when we did the same movement with our arms behind us.
Yeah, I think it’s clear that have absolutely zero upper body strength.
There was a lot of core work too and that’s when the laughing started – it really was a fun bunch. Almost everything we did required pulling in the abdominals to keep the body upright. If you didn’t do it, you would start to fall over.
Holding your body upright while kicking your legs out is not as easy as it sounds and we looked like a bunch of weebles in the water. Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down. Um, sometimes they do; no one drowned though.
The class was an hour and we worked hard. At the end we did some stretching which was great. I found that, in the water, I was more flexible and able to stretch more than usual. This also may have been because the water was fairly warm. Warm water is a big tool in physiotherapy because it relaxes the muscles, making them more malleable.
I see now why Aqua-Fitness is touted as a great option those who are injured, older or “bigger”. It’s no-impact and the buoyancy of the water helps to support your body, reducing the stress on your joints. And, although your range of motion in the water is greater, the movements are slow so the risk of injury is low.
But don’t think it’s just for the hurt, old and big people. I think they’ve been harbouring a little bit of a fitness secret for themselves. I have to say that I was genuinely surprised at how strenuous the Aqua-Fitness class was and also how fun it was.
I’m pretty sure I’ll be going back.
Image courtesy of chrisroll at FreeDigitalPhotos.net