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Is Water Aerobics Good for All Over Body Toning?

author image Eleanor McKenzie
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.
Is Water Aerobics Good for All Over Body Toning?
Water's resistance and buoyancy does a lot of the work for you. Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

Exercising in water has so many benefits. Buoyancy allows you to perform exercises you may find a lot more difficult to do on land and the resistance it provides makes it easier to tone your muscles. Water also keeps you cooler while exercising so you don't get all sweaty. Water aerobics has the advantage of providing the cardiovascular workout you'd get in the gym while also improving muscle tone.

There's No Resistance Like Water Resistance

When you do aerobic exercises in the gym, a lot of the focus is on muscles in the lower half of the body. As result you may have a well-toned butt, thighs and legs after all those star jumps and knee lifts, but your upper body muscles don't get the same workout. Movement in water offers 12 to 14 percent more resistance than in air, which means your muscles get a better toning workout in the water. Plus, you can exercise with the water at upper chest level, which means your upper torso and arms are being toned, which is the same as when you swim.

Defying Gravity

The effect of gravity on your muscles is quite different in the water, and this is a real bonus. On land, gravity pulls your muscles in one direction, whereas when you're in water, gravity meets resistance to work on your muscles from two directions. Not only does this help tone and shape the muscles, it works on endurance and strength, although if one of your aims is to increase muscle strength, you should complement water aerobics with weight-bearing exercise on land, according to the International Fitness Association.

Bend It, Stretch It

Gym aerobics classes can be something of a challenge for newbies who may find some of the stretches difficult at first. Lack of flexibility is more easily resolved in water-based exercise. Again, it's the lack of gravity that helps here. It's much easier to move your joints through their full range of motion in water without stressing them. This makes water exercise ideal for anyone who has arthritis, is overweight, has back problems or has had a stroke who would find land-based aerobics painful, possibly damaging, or simply impossible.

Water Workouts

Water aerobics classes provide an all over body toning routine, which can resemble a gym aerobics class in term of the exercise movements, such as marching and stepping. It provides an effective all-round cardiovascular and muscle-toning workout. With water jogging you run on the spot in chest-deep water. This gives you a good cardiovascular workout and strengthens legs and hip muscles. Aqua yoga and "poolates" are other water-based exercise classes you could consider for improved flexibility. On top of the toning and flexibility benefits, water-based exercises burn 30 percent more calories than the same workout on land.

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