The weather is getting warmer—too warm to imagine going outside for a jog or walking out of the air-conditioned gym hot and sweaty from your workout.
Why not take advantage of the heat and do your workout in the pool? You don’t have to be injured or a certain age to get the most out of water workout or an Aqua class. It turns out, these classes are a great way to mix up your routine and stay in shape.
Still unsure? We asked Aqua instructor Mark Delacruz to share a few reasons why Aqua is a great class for anyone. Delacruz, who recently celebrated 24 years as a GX24 instructor at 24 Hour Fitness, has a resume almost as long as his tenure. Outside of Aqua classes, Delacruz also teaches Yoga; Step; Core, Cardio & More; Senior Fitness; Silver Sneakers; and Hip-Hop—so if anyone is qualified to tell us why we should try a class, it’s probably him.
Here are five reasons to add an Aqua class to your workout routine.
It’s for all ages and skill levels
An Aqua class is ideal for any age and skill level. “You don’t even need to know how to swim!” adds Delacruz, who notes that participants only need be in the water at chest level and that the risk of slipping or falling in the water is slim.
“Since Aqua class participants can have varied levels of agility, I show different options of the movements,” Delacruz says. “I have them focus on form first and then add in the different options. I continually encourage them to challenge themselves but to also listen to their bodies—making sure that they modify, if needed, as long as they keep moving.”
Not only is the class fun, but it also will challenge your body in ways you’ve never even considered. Because the water allows for zero gravity, you can do moves similar in intensity level to those on land, without the added stress on the joints.
The greatest testament to this, Delacruz says, is when his 25-year-old niece was visiting and wanted to try his class. “She takes BODYCOMBAT, BODYPUMP and Cycle. The next day, she said her body still hurt from class! That was something that she did not expect,” he says.
It forces your body to do new things
It’s always good to mix up your workout, Delacruz says. By doing the same workouts over and over, you’re not allowing your body and muscles to work in new and different ways. “You may discover that some movements you do in an Aqua class are more successfully executed than you may have done on land,” Delacruz adds. “I always tell my classes to ‘mix it up,’ otherwise you’ll plateau and won’t challenge yourself and your body.”
It’s a great way to work on mobility or recover from injury
Not only will you get a great workout in an Aqua class, but if you’re recovering from an injury or working on limited mobility, this is also the class for you.
“When you’re in the water—in zero gravity—you are able to move in ways that you can’t on land because you have limited range of motion,” he explains. “This gives people the opportunity to continue to work out while going through recovery (always checking with their doctor first!).”
You can do moves you can’t do on land
There are some Aqua moves that you can’t do on land that can truly challenge you, Delacruz says.
“There are some great core drills we do where you remain suspended (feet off the floor at all times) and essentially use your core to move your body in different ways. It can be difficult, so I always let newer participants know the challenge, their options and to work toward the goal of proper form.”
It’s a cardio and strength class
While each instructor and class is different, Delacruz uses a mix of cardio, strength and core exercises to challenge his participants. And he always provides them with options.
“I give members options on how to make the training more intensive, more of a cardio workout,” he explains. “I have some who remain at the cardio level for the entire class and others who are focusing on increasing their range of motion and strength.”
So how do you add strength exercises into an Aqua class? “We utilize the deck (wall) of the pool to incorporate strength exercises. This can include doing Aqua push-ups, Aqua burpees and leg work,” Delacruz says. “We also use buoys (weights) and noodles—out of the water, they don’t have any resistance, but add them into a water workout, and you’ll definitely feel the difference.”
Interested in taking an Aqua class? Try one at your local 24 Hour Fitness.
Photo credit: Petair, Adobe Stock