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Aquatics and Exercise By: Nancy Martin

Aquatics and Exercise

By: Nancy Martin
AARP, ACE and National Arthritis Trainer

Aquatics and Exercise are a natural combination for today’s active, older population as well as for younger fitness enthusiasts. As many of our residents are aging, along with recent concerns about the economy, many are directed by personal choice to a more reasonable fitness activity that provides personal satisfaction, health and wellness. And, as professionals know, aqua therapy has become a more common request due to the success and frequency of major hip and knee replacements.

When potential younger participants think of aqua therapy, they may not be aware of the cardiovascular benefits. As newer fitness centers in Scottsdale are growing and being built, I find more and more younger enthusiasts embracing this tremendous, low-impact opportunity to cross train in the water. Men, expectant mothers, youths enjoying plyometrics, the orthopedically challenged, and sometimes just the curious attend my classes. Heart rate monitors worn in the pool, calibrated with the individual’s MAP test, document how many calories one can burn within a typical one-hour class. A typical calories burn can be 300 doing interval work within the class. As professionally trained instructors pass along cues for special needs participants, everyone can enjoy their own personal workout during the same class, working at their own pace, be that a high or low level.

The equipment needed for an aquatic exercise class can be very similar to that of a therapy class. Aquatic shoes are recommended for safety, as they give important lateral support. Dumb-bells and other physical resistance toys assist with all the strengthening exercises. Core work is easily accomplished in chest-deep water using large flowing limb motions. Balance and coordination can be accomplished with floating motions using water styrofoam noodles. There is no limit to what can be accomplished with creativity within an aquatic exercise class.

Whether the participant has fear of the water or physical limitations, professionally certified aquatics trainers can accommodate all. The standard water temperature for therapy is 92 degrees, limited to slow, deliberate full range of motion with water depth just below chest height. However, therapy is also often done at temperatures between 82 and 98 degrees. Arthritis Exercise Temperature is between 83 to 88 degrees. Sixty percent of body weight is lost at chest water depth, which helps those who suffer various types of arthritis, as limbs moving through the water with less resistance help reduce pain while exercising. Those using the pool for cardiovascular exercise and calorie burning should do so below 84 degrees, helping to maintain a safe heart rate.

In summary, Aquatics and Exercise flexibly accommodates the many varied populations enjoying it: the young, the mature, the physically active, or those challenged with balance and other limitations of all types. A person not familiar with aquatics and exercise need only observe the enjoyment experienced by those of our desert southwestern residents who currently embrace water. Please contact me for any type classes you might be interested, in and I will direct you to a variety of venues offering aquatics classes: private clubs, City of Scottsdale and Phoenix facilities, therapy locations, and even Watsu for Relaxation.

Nancy Martin at AQUATICS AND EXERCISE in Scottsdale at 480-390-9229