Make a splash

Cathleen Kronemer

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT

Even though it is early in the season, there is no denying that the infamous St. Louis heat has in fact descended upon us…and with a vengeance. Coming up on 2 weeks’ worth of temperatures in the near-90’s or above, some of us may be reluctant to leave the comfort of our air-conditioned homes, let alone go outside and exercise. A simple afternoon of lying out by the pool can render us overheated as we try to capture that golden brown tan.

Even if you are not a swimmer by nature, a pool can offer a cornucopia of benefits in terms of health and well-being. If the thought of remaining cool and comfortable while exercising outdoors is appealing to you, read on!

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Water aerobics is a fun and dynamic way to work the entire body, regardless of your current level of fitness. Upon entering the water, your body feels approximately 90% lighter, facilitating movements that might feel more cumbersome on land. Due to the buoyancy factor, jumping and even jogging in the water minimizes any impact, making this an ideal form of exercise for anyone with arthritis or other joint issues.

Lest you get the picture that exercising in the pool is a relaxing task, consider the fact that you are moving against 12 times the resistance of air. Movements such as kicking or jumping jacks will contribute to muscle development and help raise the body’s resting metabolism. Adding water aerobics “toys” such as kickboards, paddles or water dumbbells can help add resistance to the movements, creating more of an opportunity to increase the level of difficulty of the workout.

Since summer also tends to be the season of increased ice cream consumption, another positive aspect of water aerobics is the caloric expenditure. A typical water aerobics class may burn anywhere from 400 to 500 calories in an hour, according to the Aquatic Exercise Association. This amount varies in accordance with the intensity of the workout as well as the depth and temperature of the water.

If you have never tried a water aerobics class, make it a priority this summer to engage in something new. A fun, refreshing workout might be just what is needed to buoy your fitness goals!

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center.