Splish, splash, it’s time for an Aqua Fit class!
Aqua Fit is a Group Fitness class unlike any other. In case you didn’t know, the entire class takes place in the pool, which is a perfect way to get your workout in while keeping cool. While many might interpret Aqua Fit as an easy class, it may not be as simple as you think it is. Working out in the water does help put less of a strain on the muscles, which may help make it an easier work out on the body. However, weights are still used, and muscle is still built, but the weights you use are specially designed for the water. If you can imagine mini boat propellers, that may be the best way to describe water weights. These weights help add resistance to your workout as you move through that refreshing H20. As you push and pull the water dumbbells through the water, you strengthen your core and challenge hard to target muscles.
For those of you who are still skeptics on whether or not Aqua Fit would be the right fit for you, we interviewed Aqua Fit Group Fitness cycle instructor, Ilke E.W. Ilke is a Stage III breast cancer survivor and lacked the motivation to work out after her cancer treatments. The only way she could get a workout in without overexerting her joints was in the water. She started participating in aqua dance fitness. She lost over 50 lbs., adopted healthy habits, and became a certified Group Fitness instructor, which helped her continue to stay motivated with her healthy new life choices. Ilke shared with us her views on exactly what Aqua Fit is, who Aqua Fit benefits and why you should give it a try.
“[Aqua Fit is] a never-ending party while you get healthier and more fit without even knowing it.”
Q: What sets Aqua Fit apart from other fitness classes?
Ilke E.W.: In an Aqua Fit class, you perform large muscle movements by reaching your arms and lifting your legs in the water as well as circling your hips and shoulders with the resistance of water added. Furthermore, water gives support in terms of balance, minimizing the potential for injury to the muscles and joints. In a land-based exercise, you do not have that.
Q: Would you recommend aqua fit for all age groups? If so, what would you like our younger members to know about it?
I.E.W.: Unfortunately, there is a myth among young groups that Aqua Fit is only for “grandma” while she does her thing in the water wearing a flowered swim cap. I can convince any millennial if she/he did ten minutes of my class in the water. First off, the workout is intense, as intense as you would like to make it. It combines both cardio and resistance and can be even more challenging because you are doing jumping jacks, leg lifts, and arm movements with the added resistance of the water. With the added benefit of dance fitness, a young person can stay motivated doing challenging and greater motions with their bodies in the safety of the water dancing to the tunes they hear every day.
Q: Why chose Aqua Fit over other aerobic options?
I.E.W.: Working out in an Aqua Fit class during the week will add variety and minimize burn out for members. Adding more resistance into a workout with the safety of the water will encourage members to push themselves even harder when they know they probably will not get hurt doing challenging moves.
Q: What does Aqua Fit mean to you?
I.E.W.: Aqua Fit means a healthy choice while I have fun doing it in a party atmosphere, while it does not feel like a work out or a job.
“Do not be afraid of trying Aqua Fit. It is for everyone who can go in the water. Furthermore, you will be less intimidated in the beginning, since nobody can see what you are doing under the water.”
Ilke and LAF member, Joe G.
Q: Please expand briefly, on how those with breast cancer can benefit from an Aqua Fit class. What does it help with?
I.E.W.: After any surgery or injury, not limited to mastectomies, most people must go through physical therapy to gain back the mobility in their joints and muscles. Usually a physical therapist gives a patient homework to do at home in addition to going to a PT center. These exercises can be more easily done in the water, helping to minimize further injury and maximize the challenge with the resistance of the water. Particularly with breast cancer patients who went through mastectomies or lumpectomies, the mobility of the arms is quite limited. They may also develop scar tissue in the breast area that cannot be freed up and further hinders mobility of the arms. One way to gain mobility can be with targeted Aqua Fit exercises in the water.
Ilke with friend, and LAF Member, Kathy K.
LAF Member & Aqua Fit Advocator, Luisa C.
Susan P. enjoys Ilke’s Aqua Fit class because of the “fun, socialization, [and] support.”
“Ilke’s classes are engaging, fun, and a terrific workout.”
“I came to Aqua Fit after I broke my ankle and stayed for the fun and camaraderie and Ilke’s great personality and inspirational methods.”
“If you want to have a good time come to Aqua Fit.”
“The place is clean and the Aqua Fit classes are wonderful in particular. Ilke […] motivates us with her contagious smile.”
Joe G. also shared that the class is like a mini family and community. They sometimes get breakfast together after classes, and have holiday themed classes. It’s like being at a party with some of your closest friends.
If you want to check out an Aqua Fit class and see if it’s a good fit for you, find a location near you that offers the class here*! Don’t forget that Aqua Fit is a fun, yet challenging water aerobics workout that is offered for members of all ages. It’s a unique way to switch up your typical workout routine – so stop on by and give it a try!
*Classes and amenities vary by location.
This article is not meant to be construed as medical or nutritional advice. Consult with your physician before starting a new fitness routine.