Today I’m excited to share with you this guest post from Kaitlin about the benefits of aqua aerobics for runners. While I’ve never tried aqua aerobics or aqua running myself, the idea has become much more interesting to me since I’ve been interesting. If only I had access to a pool where I could try it out. (Okay, truthfully we have a pool in the development I where I live, but it’s small and can get very crowded). Take it away Kaitlin!
Whether you’re a competitive distance runner or triathlete, or just run for fun, adding aqua aerobics to your fitness regimen can greatly enhance not only a healthy running practice, but offer a low-impact, cross-training alternative during periods of rest due to injury. Regardless of whether you compete in endurance events or not, in order to maintain the highest level of fitness possible, it’s optimum to keep your level of fitness up while you recuperate.
Because of the lack of gravitational pull that being in the water provides, and with its natural buoyancy properties, joints, muscles and tendons do not absorb the shock and stress that comes with running and exercising on land. This means that even sore muscles and weakened joints can withstand the activity of a basic aqua aerobics routine. But just to be safe, consult with your doctor before adding aqua aerobics to your list of approved activities during any period of healing. The following links may also help:
Cross Training vs. Complete Rest
Many exercise-induced injuries call for complete rest, but aqua aerobics offers a low-impact, cross-training element that can help a person remain as close as possible to pre-injury fitness levels. Studies show that up to five days off from a running practice, for example, will not have an adverse effect on fitness level. Increase that time off to two weeks, and fitness levels become greatly impacted. Athletes who incorporate low-impact cross-training such as aqua aerobics to their healing time can return to their traditional workouts sooner, and at a much higher level of fitness than if they had no activity whatsoever.
As the name implies, aqua jogging is simply running across the length of the pool. Studies show that the motions of jogging or running on land and in the water are very similar, which means that form is not compromised. Additionally, although the heart rates that can be achieved by land running are higher than that of aqua jogging, the water equivalent is much the same as land running vs. land cycling, a popular cross-training alternative for runners.
Tips for Aqua Jogging
- Wear a water-running flotation belt while aqua jogging, which allows you to maintain a stride that is as close as possible to your land running stride. For a more physically intense water running workout, do not use the belt; keep in mind that it will be much more difficult to maintain your normal land-running stride. If you are a recreational runner, this is much less of a problem than it might be for competitive runners who must be careful to protect their form.
- Add music! Aqua jogging lacks the built-in benefit of running through an ever-changing countryside, or the hustle and bustle of an urban area. Blast some music from your smart phone and a portable speaker, or listen to an interesting podcast.
- For a more intense workout, use a bungee cord hooked to the back of your water running belt and the other end to something sturdy, like a swim ladder, post or built-in hook that pools sometime have for roping off sections of the pool.
Other Aqua Aerobics Moves
Simple, effective movements in the pool are an efficient way to maintain fitness for land-based sports. Try these for a quick, efficient cardio and muscle workout:
- Kicks: Hold edge of the pool and kick feet rapidly for as long as possible
- Jog in place: Maintain a high-step (knees high) in-place jogging movement
- Jumping jacks: This classic move is made more intense by water resistance
- Line jumps: With feet together, jump from side to side, or front to back, over an imaginary line
These aqua aerobic moves should keep you at the fitness level you desire all (pool) season long and beyond!
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.
Thanks so much Kaitlin!