We all know that swimming is a great, low-impact, full-body workout. But it’s not the only way to get in shape in the water. Over the last few years, traditional strength training, cardio workouts, and even yoga have taken to the water to deliver a form of exercise that is easy on the joints and effective at toning and strengthening the muscles. Sure, there’s water aerobics. But there are also a handful of other fitness styles that have taken the plunge into the pool, creating an entirely new experience for some of your favorite group exercises classes.
Here’s an introduction to five popular group fitness classes that you wouldn’t expect to take place in a pool:
Aqua Zumba adds a fun challenge to one of the most popular group exercise classes in the world. The concept and moves are the same as in a traditional Zumba class, but the extra resistance created by pushing against the water adds a great strength-training element to the workout. The class is held in shallow water (about chest height for the average participant) and the instructor is positioned near the ledge of the pool (so that everyone can see her movements and follow instruction). Aqua Zumba is described as a fun pool party- where you don’t even realize that you get a great workout.
By Jessica Green
As a running coach, I work with a lot of runners up until they get pregnant and then post-pregnancy. What happens to the runner during pregnancy? One year ago I was able to learn on my own what it actually means to “run through your pregnancy.” It’s not as simple as one might think. I found that creating goals and constantly adjusting to my changing body allowed me to enjoy both working out and being pregnant at the same time.
When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to continue running through my pregnancy and enjoy it. So, I wrote down my goals and established guidelines for the next nine months, which turned into the following:
- Run at least three times a week as long as it continued to feel good
- Conversation pace—always
- Limit runs to ninety minutes—if I need refueling, chances are the fetus does too
- Any cramping means it’s time to walk
- Throw pace out the window
- Do one non-running cross training session per week with a prenatal body specialist
I recommend every woman who plans to run through her pregnancy do this. Your guidelines don’t have to be the same as mine, but make sure you go into your pregnancy running adventure with your eyes open and your mind wrapped around realistic and healthy goals and guidelines. Otherwise, you’re either going to be fighting the non-pregnant runner instinct in you every step of the way or you’re going to have to stop running sooner than you want. (more…)
Marielle Doughty is one of the most positive women I’ve ever interviewed for our True Weight Loss segment. Time and time again she mentioned that although losing 113 pounds hasn’t been easy, she never considered it a struggle. Through the process she’s met new friends, learned how to cook in a different way, and found physical activities she truly enjoys participating in. Through her weight loss journey, she discovered it’s easier to embrace healthy lifestyle changes than consider them a burden.
We asked Marielle to share her story with us:
Tell us when your weight struggles began. It all began when I got married and learned how to cook. I found out that love to cook and I love food!
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? My love of cooking and my addiction to sugar. I also became a stay at home mom and didn’t stay active at all.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? Every year I would usher at my kids’ dance recital and come home every night with sore feet. One year two thoughts came to me almost simultaneously: 1- It feels like we were just here last week, not a whole year ago. 2- If I had made small lifestyle changes a year ago, my feet wouldn’t hurt as much. It was a light bulb moment for me. I started my journey the day after the last dance show and a year later I ushered again, 97 pounds lighter, and I didn’t get sore feet.
How did you lose weight? I used the Zumba diet to start. I chose it because it doesn’t cut out food groups, it teaches portion control and healthy habits instead of being a diet that has a finish line. I wanted to learn how to eat healthy, not get to a specific goal weight. The recipes were yummy too. I still love to cook – I just know how to make better choices.
Public health officials have been encouraging Americans of all ages to walk and bike more to decrease obesity and improve overall health. Now that the weather is warmer, we just might be inclined to follow their advice.
On beautiful days, it’s tempting to just throw on your jogging shoes and go for a quick run, or dust off the bike for a nice ride and not think twice about safety.
Not only do you need to be aware of safety but also what do if you possibly encounter a dangerous situation. Here are some things to consider before you head outside:
First, decide where you are going to go and if possible have someone go with you. Going on bike rides or a quick jog is a great reason to invite a friend or loved one. If you do go by yourself, let someone else know where you are going and provide them with details on where you plan to go. While planning your route, avoid deserted or dangerous areas. Try to stay near paths that are more populated and well lit. Vary your route and the time of day so you are not as predictable. Avoid unfamiliar areas, but if you are trying a new path or route make mental notes of emergency phones, and safe businesses. Also, carry some I.D. and change just in case you need to make a phone call. (more…)
As a runner, there’s nothing more wonderful than a cool morning, a gentle breeze, and some scenery. I love to run outside. Because of where I live, I typically run on pavement in neighborhoods. Sometimes I manage to run through parks and even along rivers during my weekly training. When everything is in sync, there’s noting better, but that’s just one runner’s opinion.
Many runners run outdoors on the pavement. However, there are also a lot of runners who actually prefer the treadmill. As I’ve had my fair share of terrain experience, I can safely say that neither is necessarily better, but they are very different.
Road running naturally creates many benefits for the training athlete. Because of the uneven surface the outdoors provides, the body gets a complete workout. Stabilizing muscles have to work harder out on the road as the runner has to shift to adapt to the changes. Road running will also bring its share of climate obstacles. Wind will provide great resistance training and heat and cold can also help the runner prepare for any given race day condition. Another major bonus of road running is that it burns more calories than treadmill running as it is more intense and demands more energy from the leg muscles.