Water workouts are a good option for people with physical conditions. If you have poor joints, for example, the buoyancy of water allows for more movement and eases performance of exercises that couldn't be done on land. Swimming aerobics burns calories and tones muscles, making it an ideal choice for weight control and muscle development. Regular exercise also protects your overall health. Talk to your doctor before starting a new swimming routine.
You don't need much more than a swimsuit to participate in water workouts. Choose one that fits snugly, but isn't restrictive. This maximizes your range of motion during a water workout. A swim cap is helpful if you have long hair, because it keeps it out of your way and protects strands from chemical damage. Some swimming aerobic programs incorporate flippers, fins or floating boards, which makes some of the exercises easier to perform in the water.
Exercising in the pool may not feel like much of a workout since you don't sweat heavily. However, water aerobics is a good for burning calories and you'll likely feel muscle soreness in the hours following your first couple of sessions. In general, a 160-pound person burns about 400 calories during a one-hour aerobic swimming workout. You'll burn more calories if you're heavier and fewer if you weigh less. Your intensity also plays a role in calorie burn. The higher the intensity, the higher your calorie burn. If your session contains extended rest periods, or you slow down toward the end, you may not burn as many calories as you think.
Water aerobics is an ideal choice for weight loss due to the calorie burn it provides. Balanced with a low-calorie and well-balanced meal plan, pool workouts can help you drop excess weight. Water exercise is low-impact as well, making it a healthy choice for people with physical limitations, pregnant women and the elderly population. The water also offers a buffer as you exercise, one that you don't see with jogging, organized sports or biking. This reduces the risk of an injury as you work out. Water resistance in the pool challenges all of your muscle groups, which helps you build strength and endurance throughout your body.
For most people, swimming aerobics is an appropriate form of cardiovascular exercise. However, it might not be right for everyone. If you have existing health conditions or disabilities, talk to your doctor before engaging in a water workout. Most gyms and recreation centers offer swimming aerobics classes, but you don't have to take one to benefit from this type of exercise. Incorporate the moves into a solo session without having to commit to a schedule.
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.