As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I added water aerobics to my regular exercise program. I have never been keen on water exercise. I can’t figure out how to breathe while swimming. I’m certain I don’t perform strokes correctly. And I hate the feeling of salt or chlorine in my hair.
The obvious solution is to just get a swim cap and goggles…but have I done that? Of course not!
Swimming happened initially as a suggestion from my doula. Many mamas-to-be continue lifting weights, running, climbing, etc. and that is totally awesome if their healthcare provider has approved that level of activity. For me, it was suggested that I let me muscles relax in the few weeks before birth, requiring me to lay-off my higher intensity exercise regimen.
Right about the time I was considering adding the water to my routine, I also found out our littlest nugget thought he or she would position themselves in the exact wrong location for birth. One of the recommendations to encourage baby to turn around it to make them weightless. In other words, get in the water, do some exercises, do some flips and encourage the belly and back to relax, allowing space for baby to figure his shit out.
I can speak from experience that water aerobics is not at all what I expected! It was hard! After my first class I was out of breath and my muscles were actually sore the next day. For whatever reason, I have always associated this type of activity with the older adult population (perhaps because they make up the majority of participants), but this simply is not true. It is for everyone.
Benefits of Water Exercise:
- It is low-impact, while still providing a solid workout.
- Perfect for those who are injured, have joint pain or are pregnant.
- The water is 12x more resistant than air.
- Have you ever tried taking a brisk walk in the water? It is not easy and you use muscles in your entire body to propel forward and stay upright.
- It improves mental health
- This makes it a great activity for anyone with fibromyalgia, depression or anxiety.
- You can burn around 350 calories/ hour
- Since the impact is lower, you may find that you can workout longer in the water too!
- It’s great for cross-training
- We all know how hard high-intensity workouts can be on our bodies. It is easy to get frustrated when our muscles are tired and we continue pushing them. On these days, consider doing water aerobics instead. It allows you to move, provides cardiac benefits and works on muscle strength without wearing down your body.
30-Minute Water Workout: Option to use a resistance band, if desired.
Cardio: Do Each Exercise for 45 seconds without resting in between. After the first round, rest for 1 minute and repeat.
- Targets hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps
- Keep your upper body in the water, raising arms only to shoulder height
- Targets shoulders, back, chest, hip adductors and calves
- Move to the deeper end of the pool
- Targets the entire body
- Targets Hamstrings and Glutes
- Targets hip flexors and transverse abdominus
- Targets glutes and hip abductors
- Targets calves, quads and hamstrings
Strength: Do 2 Rounds, 15 reps each
Leg Sweeps Front and Back
- While straight, lift one leg directly in front of your body, then sweep it behind you
Leg Lifts Out to the Side
- Lift right leg directly out to the side while balancing on left leg. Try to avoid placing your foot on the ground in-between reps. After 15 reps, change sides.
Pick up a long resistance band. Yes, in the water. Stand in the center of the band and hold an end in each hand. Keep your entire upper body in the water for all exercises. This will allow you to use the resistance from the bands AND the water.
Lateral Shoulder Raise
- Lift straight arms directly out to the sides, not raising your hands above the shoulders or out of the water. If needed, squat down to stay in the water and use its resistance!
- Bend forward slightly, lifting straight arms up and back, squeezing the upper back.
- Pulse straight arms directly backward, engaging the triceps.
AND you can do it while you’re pregnant!! I did!