Aqua jogging – why you should try it
Aqua jogging is a great all-round exercise; even if you normally prefer to run on the road…
Aqua jogging closely mimics the natural running form, so it provides a workout that, in addition to aerobic benefits, helps keep the running-specific muscles active. Studies have shown that aqua jogging can enable a well-trained runner to maintain running fitness for up to four to six weeks.
Running in the water has almost no impact, so your weight-bearing joints and muscles can be given the time they need for recovery while you’re still able to maintain your training schedule and muscle memory. Running is an excellent cardiovascular exercise. Running in water allows you to maintain, or improve, your cardiovascular conditioning.
The requirements for aqua jogging are minimal: all you need is a swimming costume/trunks and access to a deep pool or ocean. You want to be able to move without your feet touching the bottom, so a flotation device is helpful as it allows you to concentrate on your form without worrying about sinking.
Swimming and de-stressing
Swimming has physical, mental and emotional benefits that can help the entire family, such as…
Swimming is an excellent cardiovascular workout that promotes heart and lung health, improves strength and flexibility, increases stamina, and even improves balance and posture. Swimming can also help prevent childhood obesity, which has been linked to diabetes later on in life. Swimming also puts less strain on joints and connective tissues, compared to many other types of exercise.
Swimming boosts endorphins that increase feelings of well-being. Plus, the rhythmic strokes and sound of water make swimming much more relaxing. It’s been shown that swimming produces the same “relaxation responses” like yoga, and the stretching and contracting of your muscles can heighten this experience. Not only does swimming increase relaxation chemicals, but it is also highly conducive to meditation.
Swimming can also improve emotional health – for both you and your kids. The natural buoyancy of the water is more relaxing than other types of exercise. This means that people tend to exercise for longer periods while swimming, which can also improve overall mood, and help combat depression.
Pool noodle exercises
Just one little pool noodle can make all the difference to your exercise regime…
Ride your pool noodle like a bicycle by pedalling your legs to propel you forward across the pool. You’ll feel the burn in your legs first but the cardio catches up with you quickly.
With a pool noodle under your shoulders, pull your abs in and perform a crunch. The three-dimensional nature of the pool means that not only do you need to work your abs laterally but you also have to stabilise your body in the vertical and horizontal planes. Crunches to the power of three!
Holding the noodle in front of you, push down until you are in a plank position with your body in a straight line and your toes on the bottom.
Noodle plank with knee tuck:
Noodle plank too easy for you? Try tucking your knees up to your chest and then shooting your legs out behind you back to plank position. The water will push back against you, so kick out hard or you’ll just flip yourself over the front.
Noodle press down:
Holding the noodle in front of you, push it down until it touches your legs and then release it back up. If you need more resistance, simply use more than one noodle.
Exercise leads to better work-life balance
Here’s how adding one extra item to your to-do list creates better balance…
Exercise allows people to detach (physically, mentally and emotionally) from work and other responsibilities, therefore alleviating stress and helping them feel more confident and empowered. Even one exercise session can help you experience a sense of mastery. Meeting exercise goals like running five kilometres, for instance, produces a prolonged “can-do” attitude that spans across multiple roles throughout the day, from work and school to parenting and even your marriage.
You don’t necessarily need fancy gym equipment to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. A good fitness routine can be as simple as taking a 30-minute walk or jog in your neighbourhood, or putting in a workout DVD and completing it in your living room. Simply doing squats, push-ups, sit-ups or wall sits in your home counts as a workout too.
Think about what time of day works best for your schedule. Some people like to wake up before dawn (while the rest of the family sleeps) to exercise. Others like to break up their day with a lunchtime workout session. Still, others prefer to unwind in the evening and work out their stress in the gym or weight room. Whatever your inclination, stick to it – even 30 minutes of exercise a day will make a massive difference – and the rewards will cross over into every single part of your life.
5 reasons to add weight training to your swimming
It might sound counterintuitive, but adding weights to your fitness regime might just improve your swimming too. Here’s why…
Weight training helps strengthen your major muscle groups. Swimming uses different muscle groups in your body – probably most importantly, your lats, pectorals, shoulders, quadriceps and hamstrings. Adding weights to your workout routine will help you feel faster and more efficient in the pool.
Varying movements helps to reduce injury. As swimming is made up of repetitive motions, this increases your chance of an injury to your muscles and joints. Adding weight training will give your muscles time to rest and will alleviate the boredom of simply doing one thing. Similarly, swimming will help to loosen your muscles after a hard weight session.
Don’t think if you’re training for swimming that you don’t have time for weight training. Doing both weight training and swimming together is one of the most effective ways to train. Half an hour of weight training and half an hour of swimming can do much more than just an hour of swimming or an hour of weight training. The weight training will help you to build up your muscles so that you can swim faster, and the swimming can help you in the recovery period after weight training.