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Exercise underwater.

Byline: Lisa Iannucci CTW Features

Looking to exercise, but the idea of jumping around on a hard aerobics floor makes your joints cry? Then try getting into the pool.

"Water aerobics is good because of its low-impact on the joints," says Debra Love Smith, a group fitness and wellness instructor in Safety Harbor, Florida. "Many people over 50 have back, knee or hip issues, and the water has a minimal impact on those joints. It takes your workout to a whole new level."

The Centers for Disease Control says that swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the U.S. and a good way to get regular aerobic physical activity. And if exercise isn't your cup of tea, you're in luck -- people report enjoying water-based exercise more than exercising on land.

When it comes to the benefits of water aerobics, the Mayo Clinic cites improved heart health, reduced stress and improved muscular endurance and strength.

Smith also says that water aerobics is just plain ol' fun. "You get to play around in the water and there's great music and camaraderie among those who are doing it with you," she says.

"There's also a mind/body aspect to water aerobics," says Amy Summers, owner of Aquoga in Rosendale, New York. "I teach my participants to stay conscious in their body, and there's a meditation component to it."

If it's your first time in the water, you don't need to bring any equipment. "All you need to do is get in the water because all of the supplies, if any, are provided," Smith says. "It's not intimidating since nobody can see anything but your head and the top of your shoulders."

You also don't need to know how to swim because water aerobics can be done in the shallow end of the pool.

Some classes just use the resistance of the water to work out, while others use beach balls and water noodles for resistance strength training and balance. Other classes use dumbbells. There are also deep-water classes where you wear belts so you can stand up in the water with your feet off the floor.

While some aerobics and fitness classes are not suitable for those with heart or other conditions, water aerobics is an exception to the rule. "If someone has difficulty getting in and out of a pool, for example they are wheelchair bound, there might be a restriction, otherwise there are no restrictions for people with heart conditions," Smith says. "They can just go at a slower pace."

Summers says that she has participants who have a wide variety of health issues, including amputees and others with disabilities. "They find that being in the water is healing and there's a gentleness to it," she says. Today, water aerobics can include treadmills, bicycles and Zumba classes. Yoga classes are also being taken to the water.

To find a water aerobics class in your area, search out your local gym or YMCA. "If you have a community of like-aged people, you can start your own water aerobics class and seek out an independent constructor to teach it in a community pool.

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Title Annotation:Niche/Adv
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Jun 2, 2018
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