Monday, July 29, 2002
Deep-water aerobics makes a splash
High-intensity workouts latest trends in growing activity
By Llee Sivitz
Water aerobics is reinventing itself. This exercise genre, with roots in hydrotherapy and physical rehabilitation, has been known mostly for low-impact conditioning. New offerings, however, may entice you to add it to your cross-training program.
Pam DeCourcy, aquatic fitness instructor for the Blue Ash Branch of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, and Jennifer Mayer, manager of aerobics, aquatics and spinning for Mercy HealthPlex Anderson, recently attended the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA)'s annual convention in Las Vegas, where they learned more about the latest trends in water exercise. The AEA certifies aquatic instructors and has members worldwide.
Pam Sanford leads a group of women through Aqua Explosion, a deep-water aerobics class at health Plex in Anderson Township.
(Tony Jones photo)
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One popular trend, Ms. DeCourcy says, is high-intensity workouts in deep water.
Deep water is zero impact, so you're not going to get injured as easily, she says.
A participant wears a buoyancy belt to hold them vertical and chest-deep in the pool. You can't touch bottom, so you effectively weigh just 25 percent of your weight on land, yet the water's resistence is like having a 12-pound weight against your body at all times.
Clubs such as the Blue Ash YMCA and Mercy HealthPlex Anderson offer deep-water aerobics. At the Mercy HealthPlex class, the instructor strides along the side of the pool demonstrating sport-specific, deep-water moves, including skiing, climbing and sprints. Water-resistance equipment, such as Styrofoam buoys, periodically are used under the water, not on top.
Rose Bitsoff, 53, of Anderson Township, is a member of the Mercy HealthPlex class.
I've been doing water aerobics for close to 12 years, she says. I just discovered this class . . . It works all your muscles and you can really feel it when you get out. If I'm going to get in the water, I really want to get a workout.
If your swim club does not offer the latest trends in water exercise, try these videos for ideas and information: |
Aquatic Kickboxing 2000 (Sara's City Workout; $19.95) by Laura Ribbons shallow-water workout with kickboxing.
Cardio Abs II Deep Water Training (Aquatic Exercise Association; $22.95) by Angie Proctor deep-water workout.
Deep Noodle Workout (Sara's City Workout; $19.95) by Carol Argo deep-water workout with Styrofoam noodles.
Doing It Deep (Aquatic Exercise Association; $25) by Angie Proctor advanced deep-water workout.
From Boxing to Ballet (Sara's City Workout; $19.95) by Sara Kooperman karate, kickboxing and dance for shallow water.
Yoga Afloat Power Moves (Hot Shots Photography; $24) by Cynthia Bialek traditional yoga poses with other dynamic moves tailored to people of all fitness levels.
Four months into the class is Nancy Mallowry, 45, also of Anderson Township.
I had been taking some (land) aerobics classes but I have knee problems (from) skiing accidents when I was younger, she says. This doesn't jar my knees.
What about those who aren't good swimmers?
It's no problem if you're not, Ms. Mallowry says. There's one woman in our class who's afraid of water.
Another trend in aquatic fitness is a new focus on the mind-body-spirit connection similar to Pilates, yoga and Tai Chi classes on land. These classes often are conducted in therapy pools of 90-degree water.
I'm not familiar with any such classes locally, Ms. DeCourcy says. But I see people incorporating those ideas into either their deep-water or shallow-water class and doing some of the movements at the end of class.
Another thing to watch for, Ms. DeCourcy says, is hydrocycling.
It's like spinning (stationary cycling at high speeds), but the bicycles are in the water. We saw it last year (at the convention) and thought it would never go, but this year you saw more of it.
Price may be a major consideration, as one hydrobike can cost more than $1,000.
How about aqua kick-boxing?
Kickboxing got real big last year, Ms. DeCourcy says. (But) it's not for everybody. In my deep-water classes I use some of the arm moves with the kicks.
Don't have time for a class? Personal aquatic fitness trainers are available. Ms. DeCourcy completed her certification for this new option during the Las Vegas convention.
Many people are surprised to learn that water aerobics can burn more calories than swimming, Ms. Mayer says.
In swimming, your heart rate stays steady. In an aerobics class, you start with your warm up, then your heart rate comes up and there's a lot more intervals where your heart rate is going to climb up and down, she says. In terms of intensity, you push it a lot more. If you are looking at a shorter time frame, you will probably burn more calories in a water aerobics class.
The future of water aerobics in Cincinnati is bright, instructors say.
Its growing tremendously, Ms. Mayer says. People are a lot more active than they used to be, and the amount of injuries has increased, making water aerobics a good alternative.
Some of the young people (in my classes) say they want to get in the water and exercise and get the benefits from it, but not continue to pound on their joints on land, Ms. DeCourcy says.
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