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Does exercise improve your mental health?
Aqua aerobics is a great alternative exercise for people who don't want to do normal swimming or aerobics. Here's why.  
Swimming’s great. (We think so anyway). 
 
But it’s not for everyone. Same with a lot of sport and exercise actually. 
 
Still, there’s other water-based physical activity that might be more up your street. 
 
Take aqua aerobics for example. 
 
It’s suitable for all ages and is a great way of exercising, no matter how accustomed you are to sports and fitness. 
 
If you don’t have the joints for strenuous exercise or don’t fancy normal aerobics, aqua aerobics might be for you. 

What is aqua aerobics? 

Much like the popular land-based aerobics, Aqua contains similar calorie burning exercises, just in the water. 
 
It’s still a great way of improving fitness, except that it has the added benefit of not putting as much strain on the joints. 
 
It’s also doubly effective at strengthening the body because of the resistance offered by the water. 
 
Rather than just working one muscle group against gravity, in this you’re pushing and pulling against the water, using multiple muscle groups at once. Same effort with added benefits. 
Chart showing mental health increase
An aqua aerobics class underway. 

What does a typical aqua aerobics class involve? 

Of course, aqua aerobics has a lot of similarities to normal aerobics but there are also some key differences. 
 
A typical session would involve a warm-up to start. Pretty standard. 
 
Next you would usually have some cardio exercises to get the heart pumping. These might include jogging, kicks, twists and arm stretches. 
 
This would be followed by balancing exercises, co-ordination exercises, stretches and a cool down to finish. That last bit is particularly important if you’re not used to exercising in the water. 
 
The main difference with normal aerobics is the equipment you might use, all of which would normally be provided by the class or pool doing the session. 
 
Items that might make an appearance include aqua dumbbells, hydro disks, kickboards (a bit like the board shaped floats that kids use), aqua belts, paddles and even Aqua mitts. These are webbed gloves providing that extra bit of resistance in the water. You may also have underwater steps for step-up exercises. 

Why might it be preferable to swimming? 

Whilst swimming can be a great way of exercising, it can be hard work and not easy to start for some people. 
 
Aqua differs from swimming in that you’ll usually be able to keep a foot on the ground throughout if required. 
 
It offers a versatility that swimming doesn’t. You can have a low impact workout but it can also be raised in intensity to provide a high impact workout too. To ensure a class meets your needs, you would need to check the class description when booking, in the same way you would for land based exercise. Many providers offer a variety of classes from beginner to advanced and will state the level of intensity of the workout. 
 
Whilst swimming relies on keeping the body afloat and potentially breathing into the water, aqua allows you to remain upright with your head out of the water, making it more accommodating for those who struggle with breathing or shortness of breath. 

The health benefits of aqua aerobics 

We’ve talked about the benefits of swimming before and many of them carry over to this. 
 
Benefits include burning calories and losing weight, toning muscles and working multiple muscle groups simultaneously. You can also exercise for much longer because the water helps to cool you down so you don’t overheat. 
 
The weightlessness of the water is not only really fun but can also be hugely helpful in improving balance and coordination. 
 
Apart from all that it’s great for relieving stress and feeling better about yourself. We talked about the mental health benefits of exercise here. 

Who is aqua aerobics for? 

The great thing about Aqua is that it’s suitable for people of all ages. 
 
People of varying degrees of fitness can also join. Whether you just want to mix up your usual exercise regime with something different or you’ve not done exercise for ages and want to start doing some. 
 
It’s particularly great for older people who are perhaps not up for more strenuous forms of exercise but want to stay active. The exercises can be tailored to be as gentle or as vigorous as required. 
 
For people with mobility issues or other physical restrictions it presents an exercise alternative that can be done without too much pressure or strain on the limbs and joints. 
 
And finally, mums to be, you’re in luck! Aqua aerobics is a popular option for pre- and postnatal mothers. It helps improve the physical and mental health of someone who is pregnant without the physical strain of normal exercise. 
 
The water supports the bump too, whilst taking pressure off the back and reducing back pain. 
 
If you’re at the start of a weight loss journey it’s also ideal as the water supports your weight and allows you to take exercise at your own pace in a supportive, safe environment. 
Happy playing tennis
Aqua dumbells being used. 

And whilst you’re at the pool… 

An added bonus of all this water-based fun… you can always go for a swim after. 
 
You could even make use of the jacuzzi, sauna or steam room too, if the pool you’re at has these facilities. 
 
The sauna and steam room particularly, are great for post workout as they help your muscles to relax and your circulation and blood pressure to improve. 
 
Although they’re not such a good idea if you’re pregnant! 
 
Think aqua aerobics might be for you? We can point you towards a regular session that’s suitable for your goal and age group. Just get in touch. 
 
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