Fit for Life

VIDEO: Get a water workout this summer with aquatic classes

By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury

Take fitness from land to water this summer for some exercise fun and to burn hundreds of calories.

Swimming and other fitness activities in the water are pretty popular in the United States. The Aquatic Exercise Association reported that about 5.8 million people in the U.S. do water exercises based from 2004 American Sports Data Surveys. The association also stated that under the right conditions, people can burn as much as 500 calories per hour when doing aquatic exercises.

RELATED STORY: Enjoy fitness with a splash at these aquatic classes 

Swimming is one of the first things to come to mind when thinking of fit water activities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, it’s the fourth most popular U.S. sports activity. Swimming is not the only exercise that can be done in water though.

There are a variety of fitness classes that are designed for the water. Water plyometrics and interval training classed are aqua cardio workouts with jumping moves. A basic water aerobics class uses the natural resistance of a pool to improve flexibility and tone the body. People can even run in water which is a great way to condition without putting extra pressure on the joints.

Water exercises help to greatly reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases. People that engage in fitness activities while in water tend to have a better mood and like the exercise more.

“People reported enjoying water-based exercise more than exercising on land. They can also exercise longer in water than on land without increased effort,” stated the CDC website.

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The low-impact aspect of Aqua Zumba is one of the reasons instructor Sherri Freifelder said her students enjoy the class so much. Zumba is an extremely popular fitness craze which involves dancing to music by incorporating fitness moves. The high energy activity can also be done in a pool.

Freifelder explained that sometimes people are afraid to try the class on land. She said people with joint pain issues, arthritis, or who are subconscious about their weight may not want to take Zumba on land.

Freifelder said Zumba in the water gives participants more protection because of the buoyancy which means you don’t feel as weighed down. For this reason, she said water activities are great for senior citizens, pregnant women, those recovering from surgeries and people with mobility issues.

“I have people who walk with canes and walkers who come in the water and they can dance and be free,” Freifelder said.

Another way Aqua Zumba is different from doing the activity on land is the resistance. Freifelder said with every movement in the water, the muscles are being toned from the water resistance. Water creates 12 times the resistance that air does, according to a 2012 article on the Cleveland Clinic website. This is why water exercise is often used for rehabilitation and physical therapy.

Freifelder said Aqua Zumba is a lot of fun and something that everybody can enjoy. She said the class is all about splashing around and rockin’ out.

“The music is fun. The dancing is fun and it’s a party,” she said.

Freifelder teaches Aqua Zumba in Reading and will soon offer a 10-week session in Birdsboro. To find out more information about her classes, visit www.SherriF.Zumba.com.

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