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5 Reasons to Ditch Your Usual Workout for Aqua Fitness

5 Reasons to Ditch Your Usual Workout for Aqua Fitness

The notion “Aqua Fitness” brings images of retired persons in bad fitting bathing suits. But if your joints are sore or you’re just not loving your workout anymore, here are five reasons why you should consider hitting the pool for some strength training.

1. It Is Not Boring

There are only so many times you can watch the same episode of The Big Bang Theory while speeding on the treadmill before you get bored. Aqua Fitness classes are diverse in nature — in people and activities — so it gives you a chance to not only work out, but to get out and hang out with other people.

“I love the people I work with in this class,” says Captain Ken Schryver, senior fitness instructor in the Enhanced Fitness program at the Founders Park Pool, Islamorada, Florida. “They all appreciate how lucky they are to be in such a beautiful environment and doing activities which make them healthier. It’s very enjoyable to see participants having fun in the water while helping their bodies to amplify it’s abilities to heal itself.”

According to the article Benefits of Group Exercise published by the American College of Sports Medicine on January 20, 2012,  written by Shawn Dolan, Ph.D., R.D., CSSD, “Group exercise offers a workout for all levels, ranging from beginner to advanced. Participants do not need to know how to develop a safe and effective workout or which machines to use or for how long; it is already done for them. They simply have to show up with a positive attitude, participate, and most importantly, have fun.”

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2. It Gives Your Joints A Break, While Still Burning Crazy Amounts Of Calories

According to livestrong.com, a 185 pound person can burn up to 356 calories per hour doing aqua fitness.

Schryver, a clinically trained occupational therapist and a graduate of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, agrees.

“Water fitness is so much less traumatic to your joints than land based exercise. All activities done in the water are low impact. The buoyancy of the water makes your body feel much lighter and more agile than when exposed to gravity.”

By not pounding the pavement, your shins and knees will thank you.

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3. It Shapes And Tones Without Using Heavy Weights

The buoyant weights used for aqua fitness are light, fun and don’t hurt your hands when you grip them. But don’t worry, the water has a natural resistance so it is still a very challenging strength training workout.

The weights are so much fun to use that the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research dedicated an entire slide show to them.

4. It Encompasses Strength Training, Cardio Training, Calisthenics and Meditation All In One Work Out

Schryver, who just added meditation into his comprehensive class feels “class should not be just water aerobics, but exercise for the entire body, joints, bones, muscles, and of course circulatory system.” He added the meditation component “because so many people die from stress related incidents, i.e. heart attacks, strokes, etc. It has been scientifically proven that meditation can lower blood pressure, lower your respiration, and help you to be less stressed therefore more able to stave off these problems.”

In a study published by the Center for Disease Control on March 6, 2013, water-based exercise helps with chronic illness and mental health.

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“For people with arthritis, it improves use of affected joints without worsening symptoms. People with rheumatoid arthritis have more health improvements after participating in hydrotherapy than with other activities . Water-based exercise also improves the use of affected joints and decreases pain from osteoarthritis.”

“Water-based exercise improves mental health. Swimming can improve mood in both men and women . For people with fibromyalgia, it can decrease anxiety and exercise therapy in warm water can decrease depression and improve mood. Water-based exercise can improve the health of mothers and their unborn children and has a positive effect on the mother’s mental health. Parents of children with developmental disabilities find that recreational activities, such as swimming, improve family connections .”

Nancy Price, and Aqua Fitness regular, finds the class helps with some of her medical issues.

“When I am having discomfort from an ongoing gastro-intestinal issue I have, going to class actually relieves that discomfort,” says Price.  “I’m regaining my overall body strength, stamina, and mental/physical sense of well-being. And I’m having FUN!! That really is a preventative health benefit!”

5. It’s Refreshing

“Obviously, it’s also much cooler to exercise in an aquatic environment,” Schryver says. “When it’s hot people might not want to jog or even walk, but they will work out in a pool happily.”

Plus, since you’re in the pool there is no yucky sweat.

“I like how much better I feel, both mentally and physically, after attending the class (especially on days I didn’t really feel like going). The more often I go to class the longer that good vibe lasts,” Price says. “Also seeing my body get stronger and more fit is a great perk!”

To check out Aqua Fitness, check out  a local pool or health facility near you.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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