Many hope to lose weight, get in shape, or simply lead a healthier lifestyle, but are not interested in going to the gym. If this is the case for you, aqua fitness may be a great alternative to look into.
So what is aqua fitness, exactly?
Michelle Wong, an aqua fitness instructor at Kerrisdale Community Centre and UBC Pool, explains that a standard aqua fitness class is usually an hour in length and consists of the following four components: warm up, cardio, strengthening, and cool down. The best part of this workout – it’s done in the water. So besides getting some relief from the summer heat, you also get fitter.
The fitness instructor goes on to say that although the four components are the breakdown of an average aqua fitness class, there may be some variance depending on the instructor and specific class you decide to take.
Not only does aqua fitness have many different types of classes to choose from, it is also very accessible — there is no “best” age to participate. Wong explains, “All ages are welcome to come and join.” Despite this, Wong mentions that the classes she teaches tend to be most popular with women around the age of 40 and onwards.
Wong lists the following to be her top reasons to join aqua fitness, “aqua fitness is a great way to meet new people and socialize, I always see a lot of patrons coming early to mingle and meet new members of the class. Everybody is super friendly and loves chatting! Not to mention, it can also help you meet a new workout buddy who would motivate you to come to class and exercise.”
Aqua fitness is different than other forms of exercise – it has a low impact on joints. “This allows patrons to have good aerobic exercise without the high impact and stress on the muscles and joints,” points out Wong. It is also a great choice for those who have injuries. According to Wong, “aqua fitness is a great form of exercise with low impact, which means it’s the perfect activity for people who may have injuries and need recuperation.”
Besides the social and physical benefits, aqua fitness also helps the heart circulate the blood flow better due to the hydrostatic pressure of the water pushing on the surface of the body.
Wong explains that her personal favourite aspect of teaching these classes is being able to do exercises with the participants. “I love to do exercises along with the class to help motivate and push them to work harder and get their hearts pumping — I want them to really feel that they had a good workout and deserve that extra serving they might eat at dinner that night.”
It is also worth noting that previous experience or skills are not needed to enrol in an aqua fitness class. In fact, Wong explains that not knowing how to swim is not a problem at all. She shares, “There is nothing you really need to know before going to an aquafit class. You don’t have to know how to swim or anything, and the instructor will always demonstrate all the actions that will be done in the class.” This makes aqua fitness an easy fitness activity to partake in, regardless of your level of swimming ability and past experience in this type of workout.
Aqua fitness is a fun and accessible form of exercise offered throughout the lower mainland. So whether you’re looking for a different form of exercise, or a way to socialize with new people, aqua fitness is definitely worth looking into.
Aqua fitness classes may include:
Standard Aqua Fitness
A good workout through cardio and strength training
Range of Motion
A focus on increasing the flexibility of joints
Occurs at the ‘deep’ end of the pool
Water belts are worn to help individuals stay afloat
Higher difficulty level than an average aqua fitness class
Active with Arthritis
Designed for individuals who have arthritis
Designed for individuals recovering from a stroke
Exercises to improve balance and flexibility