I have always been drawn to water as both a place to relax and to exercise and so today I am excited to welcome Kaitlin Gardner, author of the site An Apple Per Day, to guest post about the link between aqua aerobic activities and fat burning (two things that go very well together for me at the moment considering the sweltering heat here in Perth lately and the obscene amount of chocolate I have eaten over the last month!). Reading her post has definitely motivated me to get moving in the water again and to explore the links to her other aqua-aerobics posts on her blog.
So, over to Kaitlin ...
Does Aqua Aerobics Burn Fat?
I’m so tempted to begin this post with, “Does a bear…” but I won’t. Instead, I’ll just get right to the point: Yes, aqua aerobics burns fat. And while I haven’t ever actually witnessed a bear in the woods, doing anything, I have lost baby weight not once, but twice, using aqua aerobics.
Since I had both of my babies in mid-summer, I was lucky enough to have several months of warm weather post-deliveries. My local fitness club also offered aqua aerobics classes, and combined with my next-door neighbor’s backyard pool, not only did I have access to a pool, exercising was actually a break from the heat! I developed my own routine to suit my personal tastes. Here are some links that might help you do the same:
Losing Baby Weight with Aqua Aerobics
The key to weight loss is burning more calories that you ingest. So any activity that gets your heart pumping and muscles moving, combined with healthy eating habits, is likely going to result in weight loss. New moms, especially if you are nursing, need plenty of calories, so make great food choices, work out regularly, and watch the baby weight disappear!
I chose aqua aerobics because it solved two problems at once: it kept me cool and it burned calories. Here’s the routine I used, but feel free to adjust the intensity up or down, depending on your level of fitness when you first begin.
Three Basic Moves
1. Treading water: This is a perfect aerobic exercise if your pool isn’t quite lap-size, or if you only have a small area to work with for whatever reason. I started each day’s workout session with five minutes of treading water, which elevated my heart rate and provided a gentle warm-up for my legs, arms and shoulders. If five minutes isn’t possible at first, just do what you can. When five minutes becomes too easy, do what I did: increase by one minute each time you work out, with the goal of ten minutes. Once you have achieved ten minutes, which is a fantastic total-body warm-up, take treading water to the next level by making it one of your main in-the-water exercises. I worked up to treading water vigorously for 30 minutes, which for me, at about 130 pounds, meant that I was burning about 300 calories! The heavier you are, the more calories you will burn per hour.
2. Kickboarding: This simple childhood favorite was part of my regular routine. On days when I wanted to double up on the effect and get a great shoulder workout at the same time, I kept the board about a foot from my chest. If I wanted to focus solely on my legs, I simply kept the board close to me. Kick from one end to the other as many times as you can, rest, repeat. For a variation to beat the boredom, kick your way around the perimeter, an especially effective move for larger pools.
3. Jumping: Not only does aqua aerobics provide relief from the heat, but it’s easy on the joints also. There are several jump moves that I did to keep things interesting. First, I stood in the shallow end (waist deep water) and jumped from side to side over an imaginary line, keeping my feet together the entire time. Then, do the same move back to front. Finally, end the jump session with a set of good, old-fashioned jumping jacks. For a little added challenge, stand in chest-deep water. Do as many as you can comfortably, then rest for 15 or 30 seconds. Do two more sets. Slowly (over time) increase the number of jumping jacks in each rep.
Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside and discovering interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint with watercolors. You can also find Kaitlin on twitter and Google+.
Have you ever tried aqua aerobics? What kind of results did you experience?