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Aqua aerobics

For people who are bored with the usual workout regimens, aqua or water aerobics is a great way of muscle toning, and cardio and strength training. Due to its buoyancy, water provides the best and safest exercising environment for people with joint-related ailments (who should avoid high-impact exercises), by encouraging a wide range of motion and improving flexibility.

Another advantage of aqua aerobics is that the heart rate remains lower during these exercises compared to other typical land-based exercises, such as weight training, aerobics and jogging. Since the body ‘floats’ in water, the cardiac muscles get a workout without being put under stress; the water has a cooling effect on the body, preventing sweating, that often results in cramped muscles. 

Here are some basic water exercises you can do without using any fitness training equipment. 

  1. Total body stretch. Face the edge of the pool and grip it while bending your knees and press your feet against the wall of the pool as you inhale. When you exhale, move your hips back; this will help stretch your body. Remember, do not lock your knees or elbows or you may strain your back. 
  1. Water marching. Stand straight with the water level up to your chest and make continuous strides as if you are marching on the spot while extending your arms and legs as far as you can. Do this for two minutes per set and try to do three sets to begin with. 
  1. Waist trimmer. Stand with your back pressed against the back of the wall of the swimming pool, with your arms spread out, holding on to the edge for support. Draw your knees towards your chest, hold for a few seconds, then extend your legs straight ahead for 20 seconds before returning to the resting position.
  1. Float and swim. Relaxation is essential after completing any exercise routine. Loosen up and float for while and swim a few laps; you will be amazed how fluid and relaxed your muscles feel!

– Stephan Andrew
The writer is a former bodybuilding champion, an open water diver and a strength and fitness enthusiast.

First published in the ADBUZZZZ Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on March 9, 2014.