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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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