Monique (our guest blogger) before and after!
Water Fitness “Pros”!
Hello fellow Herbivores!
My name is Monique, and I am a plant-strong, formerly over weight, now in the best shape of my life, mother of 7 and registered nurse. I am a water aerobics instructor in Indianapolis, and am so excited to share information about this relaxing, therapeutic, and wonderful way to move your body and most importantly: feel good while doing it!
Have you ever heard the water just calling your name? It could be the rhythmic waves of the ocean, the relaxing trickle of a water fountain, or the cooling mist soaring off of a waterfall. Our brains automatically feel relaxed when we think of water- why not use that state of mind as the perfect venue for exercise?
It turns out that the “relaxing” sensation we feel when we are in water really is REAL! When we submerge ourselves, we have an immediate lowering of our blood pressure and heart rate due to the hydrostatic pressure from the water. There are many more benefits from water exercise including:
- No impact- water is a fabulous place to begin any exercise program, because of the resistance of the water. We don’t have any painful impact on our joints or muscles as we move through the water!
- All-way resistance- no matter which way you move in water, you have automatic resistance as long as you keep your limbs under water. This means a more efficient, beneficial workout routine for all the minutes you spend exercising!
- In the water, we have an opportunity to do both aerobic and muscle building, at the same time. Again; a more efficient use of our time with greater benefits!
- Significant improvement in strength and balance- I work with private clients who initially struggled with balance and strength issues due to the normal aging process- and after just a couple weeks, their balance is significantly improved-simply by walking and moving in the water with specific training focus.
What equipment do you need? Simply access to a pool or water! Many people prefer to wear water shoes for exercising in the water. Some find that water shoes decrease the friction on the sole of our feet, however some folks prefer direct contact with the bottom of the pool for better traction- this is really a personal preference, and they are not “necessary”. Try it both ways, and see what you think! A bathing suit is preferable, but any workout clothing works as well in water as on land! Equipment is minimal, and the workout is fabulous. There are many accessories you can purchase if desired such as ankle weights for water, resistance-building webbed gloves and/or paddles to use during a class- all of these are effective, but none of them are necessary. Most facilities have all the equipment you will need for any water fitness class that is offered.
Have access to a pool but no classes? NO problem! Just get in the water, and begin walking end to end. Be sure to get your heel down with every step you take, and exaggerate your steps and arm movements (this creates more drag in the water and improves your workout), and work up to marching. As the minutes go by, lift your knees higher. Feel your breathing deepen, make it a rhythm, and as you feel warmed up- begin jogging in the water! Be sure to squeeze into your large muscle groups with each movement. Any movement is good movement, and each time you do this you will make it better and more effective.
Throughout my journey from morbid obesity to being fit and thin, I have found that it really does take BOTH a commitment to nutrition as well as exercise. What’s the best way to begin? Why, in the water, of course! Especially as we are losing excess weight, while recovering from any surgery, or experiencing arthritis or joint discomfort; most physicians will recommend getting into a water exercise program once cleared for exercise, because of the many benefits and ease of water fitness.
Let’s “dive in” and embrace movement as we’ve embraced being plant-strong- grab a buddy, and I’ll see you in the pool!
Thank you for sharing your incredible journey with us Monique, and getting us excited about diving into water fitness!
Please leave some plant-strong love in the comments for Monique!