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Often times, Water Workout classes get overlooked by serious gym goers who think they are more frivolous than fierce. Perhaps even you have previously walked by one of our pools and looked longingly through the glass at a group splashing through their workout and thought "Something that fun can't possibly be effective, can it?"
Well on the contrary, water fitness is an excellent source of calorie burning and strength building that has you sweating without even realizing it. Take it from Chicago Athletic Clubs top instructors Adam Bramski and Stephanie Johnson, who lay out exactly why Water Workout classes may be the key component to your new fitness routine.
One of the main benefits of Water Workouts is that they provide a high calorie expenditure, building strength, stamina and endurance with little to no impact on the joints.
The density of the water is said to have 12x more resistance than that of air (or working on land) – more muscle groups are engaged and working simultaneously, which forces the body to work harder.
Many professional athletes have used aquatic training to supplement their workouts and increase both aerobic capacity and strength, mixing up their typical routine of weights and cardio on land. Key point - these classes are for everyone at every age level, and every fitness level as well.
According to Harvard Health publications, a person weighing 155 pounds will burn about 300 calories in an hour of a water workout. This is similar to the number of calories burned in an hour of weightlifting or moderate body weight exercises. Adding equipment and intensity (based on a number of factors) can increase this number greater than 300.
Because the density of water is said to have 12x more resistance than air, there is less stress on the joints when working the muscles. Lean muscle mass is achievable in water workout with a healthy diet and consistent class participation.
While the moves may be familiar, special water-only equipment and water resistance give a whole new challenge to how your muscles react. Water Buoys (or dumbbells in the pool) are used for Single-Arm Rows, Tricep Kickbacks, Bicep Curls, Suspended Core work, etc. Water Noodles could be used for Inner and Outer Thigh exercises, Planks and more Core work, Chest Press, Straight-Arm Lat Pulldowns, Squats, Balance work, etc. Body weight exercises include jumping jacks, tuck jumps, pendulum swings, soccer kicks, punches, cross country skis. You name it - almost any move you can do on dry land you can do in the water, and build more strength through added resistance.
Water Workouts reduce stress on joints and muscles - giving them a break from the weight of gravity while still working the whole body in all planes of motion/all directions because the water (or resistance) surrounds the whole body. Muscles sore from a heavy weight day, but you still want to stay active? The pressure of the pool actually reduces inflammation and soreness of muscles.
Overall you get more bang for your buck - in the water, movements are both assisted by the water’s buoyancy and resisted by the water’s drag. Some muscles pull against the water as you move in one direction and different muscles push against it to move the opposite direction.
Let's not forget the metal benefits of relaxation and stress relief that come with water therapy. Fold in some "me-time" by taking a few minutes to soak in the hot tub after your water workout.
Everyone from a new exerciser to an athlete can take a Water Workout class and get a FANTASTIC workout! Cross-training is key to being a well-rounded athlete and these workouts are challenging, enjoyable and humbling.
"Whenever I take Water Workout – I can’t stop smiling!! It makes me feel like a kid again; I forget I am even working out – making the time super enjoyable! Who knew exercise could be this fun?! " - Stephanie Johnson
Adam Bramski and Stephanie Johnson are Chicago Athletic Club Group fitness instructors who cover a wide range of formats and classes. Come check one of their classes out!