Is aqua exercise just therapeutic rehabilitation or proper fitness training?
In the past
There is no clear-cut answer to that question and water has so many therapeutic and healing properties that even the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans sang its praises. For example, it is a well-known fact that Roman baths were not just designed for therapeutic purposes and well-being. Exercising in the water was first invented for motor rehabilitation and involved performing physical exercises with your body partly submerged in the water. These exercises are aimed at improving muscle tone, joint flexibility and balance, as well as re-mastering certain ordinary or sports-related movements.
Why in the water?
It is worth remembering that the weaker force of gravity makes movements smoother and less stressful for your joints. Water also creates greater resistance to motion, because it is denser than air, and hydrostatic pressure allows you to improve your balance and posture. There are plenty of cases of people who go to swimming pools for rehabilitation after an accident, operation or perhaps just on their doctor’s advice. So after initially being a place for motor rehabilitation or swimming, the pool has now become popular for aqua fitness that is gradually changing and evolving to become synonymous with psychophysical well-being.
Aqua fitness becomes the latest craze
In the 1980s rehabilitation exercises in the water started to be viewed from a different perspective in the United States and turned into a new kind of fitness craze. In the 1990s this new trend spread right across the world and became known as aqua fitness or water aerobics. It was performed to music and borrowed exercises from various other sports, such as swimming, jogging, boxing and aerobics. It is ideal for people of all ages. Water is the main piece of equipment used, providing 12 times greater resistance to movement than air, meaning greater muscle toning, blood oxygenation and energy expenditure. It is particularly suitable for the elderly and pregnant women, because it is not hard on the joints.
Fitness training under expert supervision
So water can, indeed, serve rehabilitation and therapeutic purposes and is, of course, the medium for swimming, but it is also an essential part of aqua fitness, offering a valid alternative to conventional gym work. If you are interested in taking aqua fitness classes you should seek advice from an expert, who will tell you the best exercises for your own particular goals or any specific problems you might have.