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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 September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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