For several years while I was running, I would go out for long runs through the winter. I finally got tired of doing that. I tried the treadmill at the gym, but honestly, that’s one of the most boring things I’ve done in a while. Then I discovered aqua aerobics, and it changed my winter routine.

Lots of choices.

The first thing I realized was that there are a lot of choices when it comes to aqua aerobics. My local gym has classes in tai chi, Zumba, yoga, kick boxing, and they all look like a lot of fun. I wondered if I would match the cardio of running, but when I went to kick boxing, I realized that it had plenty of cardio for me. I was breathing like when I run after about 15 minutes, and the perky little trainer kept up that pace for the whole hour class.

The social element.

The thing I didn’t like about working out on the treadmill during the winter was that you are basically doing it alone. You can’t talk to the person on the treadmill next to you – it would break their rhythm and they’d look at you funny. I was really pleased to discover that aqua aerobics classes are very social in nature. During the workouts, people are pretty focused on their work, but during breaks between sets, there’s a lot of laughing and visiting – I loved having that ability to visit with people, and I’ve made a number of new friends with those workouts.

Low impact work is wonderful!

My knees sometimes would get sore when I was running, so taking aqua aerobics over the winter gave the tired joints a chance to rest. The trainer in my first class mentioned that because of the buoyancy of the water, you only have to support 50 percent of your body weight. I could tell right away. She had us doing lunges, which usually bothers my knees, but in the water, the impact was so gentle it was wonderful. My thighs still got a great workout, but it was all very gentle. I think when the weather warms up, I will continue aqua classes to cross train.

Don’t lose any conditioning over the winter.

We had a brief warm spell this winter, and I was able to get out and run a couple of days. I had been taking aqua classes 5 days a week for several months, including a lot of kick boxing, and some aqua jogging classes. I was curious to see how much of my wind I had lost. I was amazed at how good my breathing was, and how I didn’t feel my legs getting sore like I was starting over. I had maintained my conditioning, and was thrilled with that outcome.

As a way to stay fit over the winter months, I am sold on aqua aerobics classes. I’ve had a lot of fun, met some great people, and wasn’t stuck in the routine of the treadmill all winter. Plus, you really don’t need much more than a bathing suit and a pool noodle which you can find at most sports stores – I found mine at this store.

*Photo by Daniel Zedda

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