Aerobic Exercise Done in the Water
Studies show that there are many great reasons for switching from land-based exercise routines to exercise you can do in the water.
Here are just a few of the reasons why aerobic exercise done in the water is better for you:
- Water based exercise is about twice as beneficial to you as land based exercise
- You burn more calories in a shorter amount of time
- Just about anyone can do water based aerobic activity because it's low impact
- Arthritis sufferers do tremendously well with water aerobic exercise
- Pregnant women (with some restrictions) can do all kinds of water based exercise
- Recovering from an injury is a perfect scenario for water exercise programs
- You can use swim aerobic exercise to cross train for any sport or fitness program
- It costs relatively little to do water based exercise compared to other programs
- The weather can have no bearing on a water based exercise program
- Equipment is optional for most water exercise programs
Jogging in the Water
This author regularly participates in water aerobic programs. That said, if someone had told me a year ago that I'd be participating in water jogging or aqua jogging as it is sometimes called, I've had thought them insane. I'm not a runner!~
In fact, I hate running. I played soccer as a middle-aged adult and loved it but the thought of running anywhere on any type of surface does not excite me. Why? Because I suffered a hairline fracture to my shin the last time I tried to jog in my early 40s. Ever since, I've not been able to even think about running, let alone on pavement.
Enter water jogging! I attended a new class at a different pool and unknowingly signed up for a water jogging class. This was not a class for wimps. This was a full bore workout that I have to say was incredible.
I noticed my muscles were toned and I lost weight almost immediately due to the intensity of the workouts. It was also one of the best cardio workouts I've had in the past few years and amazingly I didn't work up a sweat! (I really did but in the water you can't tell)
The class I attended was a deep water running class that lasted for 45-50 minutes. There was some stretching involved and some relaxation at the end but for the most part, the program was all underwater running. I'll detail some of the things employed below in deep water running for a great workout.
If you haven't tried a class in water jogging or tried it on your own--watch the video and give it a shot. Athletes use this program to stay in shape. Movie stars use it to keep slim and trim and avoid high impact type workouts.
It truly is a one-of-a-kind workout but it's something that just about anyone can do or modify to suit their needs.
On Land Jogging Example
Shallow Water Jogging
I'm not a particular fan of shallow water jogging simply because I don't feel that it gives you the full workout that deep water jogging does.
I also don't like the impact from striking the bottom of the pool repeatedly.
However, if you combine shallow water jogging with deep water jogging, you'll get a good solid workout that way.
I currently do a workout starting in the shallow end and running to the deep end, then back and forth multiple laps.
How to Do Shallow Water Jogging
- Water should be between knee level and chest level.
- Remember that there is more impact with this type of jogging so have a care about posture and form.
- There is less resistance in shallow water jogging.
- Maintain a vertical posture and jog just as you would on land moving your arms and legs together in typical jogging fashion. Increase the intensity according to how fast you want your heart rate to go up.
- Jog the pool from side to side.
- Water jogging shoes or foot booties are helpful for this style of jogging.
- Use water weights or regular weights to increase the resistance--either in your hands or on your ankles.
- You can also wear webbed gloves that increase resistance though these are more suited to deep water jogging.
- Be careful about how you strike your foot on the bottom of the pool with this type of jogging--just as on pavement. Use proper form and this is an excellent way to work out.
- Vary the depth from shallow to medium to deep for a harder workout.
Great Demonstration on Water Jogging
Deep Water Running
Running in the deep end of the pool is definitely a total body workout. You can do the workout I described above, followed by starting in the shallow end and then running into the deep end, reversing and then running the length of the pool. Do however many laps you feel comfortable doing.
Or you can do your entire workout in the deep end of the pool as I did in the class I took. We never went into the shallow end of the pool. We had a large class but we had virtual "lanes" as some people were faster and some slower.
Everyone moved at their own pace and swam/jogged in one direction. However, at our instructor's direction, we turned and swam against the "current" we had all created which was an increased cardio component in the workout.
We also did "sprints" which were intense periods of running underwater as fast as we could. These were usually in sets. For instance, we would do regular jogging for 2 minutes, increase to a sprint for 1 minute, regular jog for 2 minutes, sprint again for 1 minute, and so on. We would do the interval swimming for 15-20 minutes, decreasing progressively.
How To Do Deep Water Jogging
- Using a flotation belt makes it easier to stay afloat. You should be almost submerged in the water--your head and neck should be the only parts of your body atop the water.
- Use your best vertical posture to run correctly. Do not lean forward or backward. Have someone let you know if you're leaning too far out or back as this can strain your back.
- Pump your arms just as you would on land--except cup your hands for extra resistance. (Unlike jogging on land, water jogging also tones your arms faster)
- Use proper jogging "form" and make sure your leg extends all the way out in front of you, pulls back through the water, and kicks up behind you on each and every stroke through the water to get the maximum benefit.
- Add hand weights or ankle weights for greater resistance.
- Add a weighted body suit if you really want to burn the calories and ramp up your resistance.
- Go at your own pace. Intervals are great but work up to them. As in on land jogging, set your pace and do what you can, increasing each time little by little.
- You won't think you did much but after your first deep water jogging experience, your legs will feel like spaghetti noodles--this is normal. You may need help getting out of the pool!
Demonstration of Deep Water Running
Benefits of Running in the Pool
I highly recommend any water aerobic workout to people on a regular basis. This is mostly because I've found over the years that there are so many workouts that we start up only to discover that they are too hard, they take too long to do, we don't see results, or worst case scenario, we suffer an injury.
Water jogging or aqua jogging are activities that just about anyone in any state of health can perform on some level. These are exercise programs that can be built upon and increased as your endurance increases.
Water based running programs are easy to do--you have only to find a pool and bring along a bathing suit.
The aerobic and cardio benefits of the workouts are phenomenal. While invigorating, they are also relaxing because there is no impact and the buoyancy of the water somehow helps you to relax tired, cramped muscles, even while working them.
Lastly, for those folks who are really serious about running but want the addition of treadmill running, yes you can buy a water treadmill as shown opposite.
Many athletes do their aqua jogging and water running on these high ticket items. If this type of water running strikes your fancy, definitely make sure you invest in proper footwear as this kind of jogging definitely adds more impact.
No matter what workout you do in the water--remember to always drink plenty of water before and after your swim workouts. It might not seem like you're sweating that much or working that hard, but in all truth, you're working about twice as hard as you would be on land!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on August 10, 2012:
Thanks, Kristy - whether you do it at home or in a community pool, it's a great way to exercise.
Kristy Sayer from Sydney, Australia on August 09, 2012:
What a great hub for someone looking to start aqua aerobics at home rather than join a class. I really like that you included videos too to give an even further understanding.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on August 09, 2012:
Liz - it truly is - thanks for stopping by
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on August 09, 2012:
BJ - har har~ Best way to do it ---in water m'dear~.
Thanks Virginia - I so want to do it year round but the only thing missing is the pool....we only have an outdoor pool here in town and it is only open for 2-1/2 months...uggh - sometimes we drive 40-60 minutes though to the other towns just to go swim!! I love it and think it's the best exercise under the sun, moon and stars~
Virginia Kearney from United States on August 09, 2012:
I love water aerobics and took all sorts of different classes in this for several years. I'd add that you don't have to do the same movement all the time. Now I don't take classes but do this sort of workout on my own any time I'm in the water with my kids. My husband who is very fit has added water workouts to his routine to get muscles that are hard to get in other ways. Great hub with lots of information, as always! Voted up and pinned!
drbj and sherry from south Florida on August 09, 2012:
Hi, Audrey. I love water jogging, 'scuse me, aqua jogging, and sometimes even do it in the pool. :)
Liz Walmoth on August 09, 2012:
Wow, this sounds so interesting. I've never heard of water jogging but I can see it would be a great workout. Well presented!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on August 08, 2012:
Farhat from Delhi on August 08, 2012:
great, my son wud certainly love doing this...he is a gud swimmer & a school champion!