Moving your aerobics routine into the water provides the toning and cardiovascular benefits of exercise on dry land with less strain and stress on your muscles, joints and bones. Thanks to the natural resistance and buoyancy of water, you'll get an invigorating workout that's also low-impact and less painful. For this reason, water aerobic exercises may prove a safer alternative for the elderly, pregnant women and those with back problems or arthritis.
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Water Walk to Warm Up
Start your water aerobics routine with a few minutes of simple water walking to warm up. Begin with slow strides in waist-high water, walking back and forth while swinging your arms. Tighten your abdominal muscles, keep your back straight and walk with your feet flat against the pool floor. Gradually increase the intensity of your water walking, and fully extend your legs to take long, swift strides. End your water walking warm up with a minute or two of water jogging to get your heart rate up.
K-Treads for Toning
For a comprehensive water aerobic exercise that targets multiple areas of the body, try K-Treads. These exercises work your back, chest, abs, arms, hamstrings and buttocks. Begin by treading water in the deep end of the pool while making small circular motions with cupped hands. Lift your left leg and extend it straight out at hip level while extending your right leg toward the bottom of the pool. Squeeze your quads and glutes and hold the pose for five seconds while continuing to make circles with your hands, then quickly switch your legs and hold for another five seconds. Repeat this alternating move for 30 seconds.
Kick and Punch for Cardio
Karate kicking and punching in the water gives you a total body workout as well as cardiovascular benefits. Make sure the water level is deep enough to keep your arms submerged, then lift your right knee and kick your foot up while you punch forward with your left hand. Keep your abdominal muscles tight and swiftly alternate your arms and legs, kicking and punching in the water. You may use foam water weights for additional strength training, although the water will give you plenty of natural resistance.
Wave Makers for the Lower Body
Wave makers target your abs, back, legs and buttocks. To begin, move to chest-deep water, face the pool wall hold on to the edge with your left hand. Put your right palm against the wall below the water line with your fingers pointing down for stability, then extend your legs straight behind you at water level. Keep your knees and feet together, then kick your legs up and down like a flapping dolphin's tail. Continue kicking fast and hard for about 30 seconds, whipping up waves on the surface of the water. If you run out of steam, slow down and do some light flutter kicks with your legs separated.
Tips and Precautions
Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine. Consider taking a water aerobics class to learn new exercises and proper form.