Water saved my life
On Christmas Eve 2019, I wrote that water keeps saving my life. My work as an instructor of aquatic exercise had me fit enough to survive a ruptured arterial aneurysm and six weeks in an Amsterdam ICU in May of 2019, and I recovered the ability to move in water long before I could replicate those moves on land as my recovery continued back home in Florida.
Today, I’ve tapped into two friends who are water fitness instructors — Janet Weisenford, who teaches at the Boca Raton YMCA, and Marlo Scott of First Class Fitness and Wellness — to help explore why water is such a great environment to exercise in, and what specific moves are the most useful.
Water gave a runner new legs
I discovered the wonderful magic of water fitness after being a distance runner for many years. I suffered from arthritis and needed to find another way to keep physically and mentally fit. At my massage therapist’s suggestion, I decided to check out aquatic exercise.Janet Weisenford, Aquatics Exercise Association certified instructor at the Boca Raton YMCA
The water fitness class she took opened a new chapter for Janet Weisenford, a long-time teaching buddy. She discovered that she could get a great total body workout — cardio, strength training, and flexibility. Janet was so captivated that she became a certified instructor through the Aquatics Exercise Association, where she learned more about the water and its properties. Here is what Janet says about why water is such a great exercise medium:
- Water’s buoyancy cushions our joints, allowing former runners like myself to run in the water with minimal impact.
- The water also offers resistance, not only building muscle but also building or maintaining bone density.
- Water workouts can also improve flexibility. The reduced effects of gravity allow you to move through a greater range of motion.
Flexibility, Janet says, is important for doing everyday activities, especially as we age, and it is often a component of fitness that is overlooked.
I can attest to that. There is nowhere better to stretch than in a pool, supported by the water.
Water exercises for core
As I learned during my recovery, core muscles bear the burden of holding us upright, ready for life. So focussing on these torso workhorses is an excellent idea. I asked Marlo Scott, with whom I’ve published posts on posture and on weight loss, for her favorite core exercises.
Core is a no-brainer: The plank, the push-up, and the bicycle.Marlo Scott of First Class Fitness and Wellness
Notice how the old-fashioned sit-ups aren’t on Marlo’s list? The bicycle works not only the mid-section abdominals but also the obliques, back muscles, gluteus and hips while improving coordination, stability, and flexibility. The plank and push-ups add work for the chest, back, and arm muscles.
In the water, I love cross country skiing and then anything that involves a twist — even better, a twist with a noodle. I also think pull ups at the pool’s edge are fantastic. And front and rear leg kicks (as in doing the backstroke and the crawl) are great, too.Marlo Scott of First Class Fitness and Wellness
Try it for yourself
If you haven’t tried a class or a water workout at home, please do! I am sure that you will become a fan!Janet Weisenford, Aquatics Exercise Association certified instructor at the Boca Raton YMCA