Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Water Aerobics - Not Just For Weenies and Older People

Like me, you might have this notion that water aerobics is for the older generations and people who can't handle "real" exercise.  As a swimmer, I pretty much stuck my nose in the air when the water aerobics people were doing their thing.  Pssshhhh, piece of cake, thought myself and SwimSis.

As I am expanding my fitness horizons, I am trying new classes/exercises.  At least 2 "new to me" things a month.  On Tuesday I had an itch to get in the water, but my lower back was still out of whack from something dumb I did at Pilates (and then proceeded to complete the rest of pilates class!).  LET'S DO WATER AEROBICS!!!  Low impact workout, here we come!

What I thought I was going to look like
{found it here}

So SwimSis and I were unfortunately late, about 5 minutes.  So things were already into full swing.  We set our stuff down and the teacher, Candice, noticed we were going to join.  I whispered/squealed/hissed "LOOK at her!" She was on the pool deck jumping up and down like a person on a crack high.  She was yelling and motivating the class.  We went to grab the obligatory armbells and SwimSis asked for the hardest ones, but I made her shut up and take the medium ones like me.

"Oh, look at me, it's my first class and I want the hardest thing you have to offer".  Show off.  Might I mention she also tried pilates the first time, but didn't want to waste her time because it was "too easy".  Yeah, then she was sore for days....anyway.  We got in and Candice was still going full throttle.  It was a shallow end class, although some people were in the deeper parts.  Let me just say I'm not the most coordinated person, so it took me a minute to catch on to every move.  I thought we were just going to bob around and move our arms slowly at the top of the water, like the ladies in the picture above.

I was wrong.  Things quickly escalated in the workout and Candice revealed that her nickname is KILLER CANDICE.  

Like hardcore water aerobics, make you hurt while it looks like you are doing something easy, kind of instructor.  My heartrate got elevated quickly as we were jogging in place, with sprints of running in place.  No stopping, no pauses, no lounging.  "It's ONLY been 9 minutes!!!" I groaned.  This lady was kicking my booty!  And instead of looking like the lady in the picture above, I nearly looked like this:

Help me!  I've underestimated this workout, and we're only 1/4 of the way thru!
{found it here}

 And those water dumb bell things?  Yeah, keeping them under the water/pushing them down is quite the arm workout.  And after my arm workout on Monday, I was taking a beating. And in case you were wondering, we survived.  The last 15 mins or so (of the hour) were abs/lower body workout.  A bit easier, heart rate down some.

Here are a few things I noticed:

-Things aren't as easy as they look sometimes.

-In water aerobics, it is you against yourself/the water.  You make your own resistance.

-You challenge yourself to the level of intensity you want to work at.  KC would routinely show us a progression of moves, 1 being the easiest, 3 being the hardest, and we were able to stay at a comfortable level, or move to more challenging moves.

- When we were supposed to be an "L" shape, using a "noodle", to do some ab work, I could not keep my lower legs up.  They kept sinking.  It kept throwing off my core work.  Frustrating.

-It kind of felt like pilates in the water.  A lot of the moves at the end focused on quality over quantity and having your core in the right position to get the maximum effect.  

-It is the opposite of the thought spectrum of swimming laps/competitive swimming.  With lap swim, you want to be long, lean, and slice through the water.  You want to, and learn how to, move through the water with the least resistance.  Streamline is the key word.  But in water aerobics, you want to push back against the water, get the most resistance, challenge your muscles to work against the water and against yourself.  That part might have been the hardest because I always slip back into wanting to figure out how to cut through the water. 

-People look at you like you are crazy, or a sad, 3 legged puppy.  Pity or hilarity.  I was there too before yesterday!

So look, any water aerobics friends that are reading this:  I'M SORRY!!!

I dismissed this exercise as for the weak and timid.  But in reality, easier on the joints does not mean less effort/less workout.  I commend you water aerobics-ers of the world!

Would I do it again:  Yes, I would like to try the deep water class as well as the mixed shallow/deep class.  Killer Candice can kick my butt any time.  It obviously doesn't rank higher than lap swimming workouts, for me, but I would love to keep it as an option when I'm feeling like I need someone to motivate me into some hardcore exercise.


  1. Apology accepted LOL jk I can't even swim to save my life. I think the whole underestimating is something we all do until we are faced by the situation then we get it :)

    I think its great you're challenging yourself to do two new things every month. Keep up the great job!!!

    And KC sounds similar to Jillian Michael I gotta give it to you for not flipping her the bird and leaving the pool you know I had to lol am seriously kidding. Is the song out of your head now?

  2. Sometimes, our vision is a traitor. It only sees things on their simplest form when actually, they're not. Water aero is definitely not in simplest form! Haha! Anyway, you'd only get hurt when you dedicate yourself seriously. Just seek the fun and enjoy!


  3. This is such a good idea, because I have a hard time finding motivation to work out. I bet water aerobics is really fun, because you are practically just swimming and using water resistance. I bet it's easier on the body than running, too.

  4. Aerobics should be done with fun and it is for this reason I love water aerobics. Good one