Battle of the Fitness Classes: Aqua Aerobics
Think that aqua aerobics is only for the golden oldies? Think again! Our Battle of the Fitness Classes was only meant to be a three-part series, but our writer Holly couldn’t resist another gym class. This time she’s in the water.
Aqua Aerobics: not just for your Nan
When I spotted Aqua Aerobics in the gym class timetable I was a bit hesitant to go along. I couldn’t shake the image of a group of over 60s women doing some light exercise while catching up on the week’s gossip.
After some deliberation I signed up and mainly wanted to go along and see how it compared to Spinning, Pilates and Zumba.
I turned up to the changing rooms and stripped off to my one piece, (FYI this is not the time or place for a neon bikini). My first thought was “Wow…. There are so many younger women here” and my second thought was “wow… people really don’t mind getting fully naked only a foot away from me”. Once my hair was securely tied up in a top knot, I was ready to make my way to the poolside. All the ladies were sat along the side, adjusting their swimsuits and making small talk before the instructor said it was OK to get in the pool.
Although age doesn’t matter at all, I just want to say that it was refreshing to see an instructor in her late 20s and I want to try and help shake the image that this class is for the *ahem* older generation.
Even though the pool is heated, there was that moment just below the belly button where I fully regretted my decision to take the entry to the pool so slowly, but once in, the temperature was quite nice. We were all in the shallow end, water about chest height as the heavy beat dance music kicked in and we began “marching” underwater.
It’s surprising how much harder things become with the added resistance of the water. I could really feel every muscle working to try and keep me grounded on the bottom of the pool and stop me toppling over. Once we were warmed up – by jumping out of the water and doing some lunges (which meant my head was a foot underwater most the time) – we were each handed a dumbbell-type float. The idea of the float is to make you work hard to keep it under the water during punching or arm raises, and it’s a lot harder than you think. It’s hard to tell if I was working up a sweat (gross, I know), but my thighs and shoulders were definitely having a great workout trying to hold the float under the water.
When we finished with the float dumbbells, it was on to the “woggles”. After fighting my way to the front for the pink one, I had to resist the urge to put it between my legs and bob along like I was 10 again. Instead, we contorted them into a sort of pretzel shape and stuck our foot through them. Then, holding on to the pool wall like a load of drenched and bedraggled ballerinas, we did lots of controlled leg lifts. The tricky part was trying not to let the float (and your leg) fly to the surface in two seconds flat, but to slowly lift it, control it, then bring the leg back to standing.
What’s the verdict?
Overall, I would say this is a fantastic workout for those looking for a low-impact option once and a while. My friend, who came along with me, had a sore knee so it was the ideal exercise for her.
It’s relaxing but equally hard work trying to resist against the water. The next day, I wasn’t aching too much but could feel it in my shoulders. If you get a chance to go along to an Aqua Aerobics class, I would recommend it as a change to the usual fitness classes. You won’t get that adrenaline high like you do with Zumba, but you do get to play with a woggle.
Have you been to a fitness class recently that has got you pumped?
Let us know @tweetjanes!