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Water Aerobic Interval Training

author image Lisa Mercer
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.
Water Aerobic Interval Training
Aquatic interval training is not just for seniors. Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Aquatic exercise, also called water aerobics, was once associated with senior fitness programs, prenatal exercise and injury rehabilitation. As aquatic training methods gained sophistication, athletes and general fitness enthusiasts made their way into the pool.

Aquatic Benefits

The buoyant forces of water provide a cushioning effect, which protects your muscles, joints and bones from impact. This does not necessarily make it less effective. Water, explains University of New Mexico exercise physiologist Len Kravitz, is 800 times more dense than air and facilitates high energy expenditure with minimal risk of energy. Kravitz reviewed the research studies associated with various forms of water exercise and reported that aerobic activities that used the arms and legs in chest-deep water required a significant increase in energy expenditure.

Interval Training

Interval training may increase your fat burning capacity. In a September 2006 study published in the "Journal of Applied Physiology," Jason L. Talanian and his research team had subjects sprint on an exercise bike for 30 seconds, and then pedal slowly for four minutes. After two weeks of interval training, the subjects doubled their overall endurance and increased their whole body-fat oxidation by 36 percent.

Work Interval Exercises

An interval cycle consists of a combination of one low intensity and one high intensity set. Most water interval programs have six to nine cycles. The program begins with five minutes of moderate aerobic exercise in the pool, which may feature jumping jacks, jogging in a circle and leg lifts while reaching the opposite hand to the opposite foot. Work segments include plyometric-type jumping jacks, which involve landing with the knees deeply bent. Simulated tire runs require you to run through the pool, bringing your legs out and in as if you were running through tires. White water runs use fast arm movements with your arms behind your body. Run as fast as possible to create a turbulence, which adds resistance to the workout. Cross-country ski movements and side-to-side mogul jumps, landing with the feet together, are other examples.

Recovery Exercise

Use backward walking, side-stepping and walking knee lifts during the recovery period. Some instructors use kick-board training during this segment. Many confuse interval with circuit training, which involves performing toning exercises during the rest periods. This may benefit your strength training, but you must keep your entire body moving to gain aerobic benefits and maintain your body heat in between high-intensity segments.

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