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Aqua Aerobics description

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Have a splash and tone up at the same time. The increasingly popular Aqua Aerobics is a great way to shape up whilst supporting your joints and muscles. Classes involve performing similar movements to land aerobics, but rather than standing on a mat getting hot and sticky you work out in shallow, chest-deep water. The great news is that while it is cardiovascular exercise, it is also a form of resistance training. So not only is it a fun way to shape up, but the water supports 90% of your body weight as you do it, making it gentle and painless.

Aqua Aerobics not only keeps the all important heart and lungs in tip-top condition, but it also strengthens and tones your body. The water resistance means that you'll use far more energy than dancing around a studio, but with less strain on your muscles and joints. Exercising in water is therefore an ideal way to rehabilitate injuries, as well as being a safe workout for anyone with a dodgy back or knees.

How does it work?

Aqua Aerobics is a group exercise class in a shallow pool, but you will have your feet on the ground all the time. You may do a routine involving jumping jacks, kicks and running backwards and forwards, as well as arm exercises. Many classes will also use floatation aids which are used to increase resistance and help with balance, for anyone who feels a little unstable.

Because of the natural support of the water, Aqua Aerobics is a low impact fitness regime that won't put too much stress on your heart or joints. Most classes last between thirty minutes and an hour, and there are usually different levels on offer. All you need is your swimming cossie and you're ready to go, but keep hair tied back or in a lovely swimming cap to keep it out the way.

Is it for me?

Aqua Aerobics is quite simply for everyone, all ages and all fitness levels. As the water improves strength and mobility, it is highly recommended to help with arthritis and obesity, as well as being an ideal way to ease back into exercise after an injury. It is very popular among senior citizens, but young and old alike enjoy the benefits of working out in the pool. The constant cooling effect of the water means you'll feel fresh throughout, which has a lovely stress-relieving effect, and the water hides away your love handles in a way that lycra on an exercise bike just can't.

Classes are a fun way of keeping fit and flexible. They are useful if you need a bit of motivation to get you moving, as the instructor will lead the way, usually along to music. If you can't swim, you won't have to worry about getting out of your depth as the water will only come to chest height, and there's usually a lifeguard keeping an eye out for trouble.

Good to know

As the water supports your body, the reduction of pressure means that water-based heart rate is around 13% lower than land-based exercise. This means it's gentle on your ticker, but you may want to compliment it with another cardiovascular exercise if it's calorie-burning you're after.

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