Aquatic Fitness The Move
To Water Exercise
by William Siebler
At the Canyon Ranch Health
Resort in Tucson, Ariz., guests find healing in the
water. The resort's 11,000- square-foot Aquatic Center
features three Watsu pools, a cross-training pool with
conditioning equipment, two aquatic therapy pools
and a whirlpool. There is also a
complete Water Workout Station and it is making a big splash
"Water is the wave of the future," said Karma Kientzler, an
aquatic therapy expert and outside consultant for Canyon
Ranch in Tucson. "People are using their bones and joints to
such excess that water will become the means for most
people to stay healthy. It is a means to life enhancement and
enrichment, especially in a spa and health care
The Aquatrend, a scientifically designed piece of stainless
steel equipment, was installed at Canyon Ranch about 10 years
ago to help take the "work" out of workouts, Kientzler said. It
makes working out a pleasurable experience, especially for
those suffering from arthritis, knee and hip replacement or
sports injury recovery. The power of water has become an
integral part of spa relaxation and rejuvenation -- it's a
healer, a stress reducer, and an amenity that everyone can
enjoy regardless of age or physical condition," she said.
For the physically challenged or non-swimmer, water
exercise is safe because there is always something
nearby to hold onto.
On the flip side, those who are more fit or who are interested
in the resistance benefits from 'Aquacise' or aqua therapy can
use a water workout station to work isolated body areas
to lose weight and inches, and to facilitate aerobic and
anaerobic training. It provides the basic exercise
everyone needs to strengthen cardiovascular and respiratory
systems while building strength and endurance.
'The Value of Aquatic Exercise'
According to the Aquatic Exercise Association, Aquatic
fitness is defined as activities performed in the
water that promote and enhance physical and mental
fitness. Aquatic fitness is typically performed in a
vertical position in shallow or deep water. There are numerous
applications to appeal to a wide variety of participants.
Here's how it works... and why it works. Water buffers the body
from gravity and makes a person virtually weightless when they
are totally submerged. When a person's head is out of the
water, he or she weighs approximately 10 percent of normal body
weight. Therefore, exercising in the water offers
protective cushioning that land-based exercise
Researchers tell us that exercise injuries are usually
related to impact. Every time a person's foot comes in contact
with the floor, impact occurs. Because a person weighs so much
less in the water, the impact on the body is reduced. Water has
the same advantages to toning as it does in cushioning. In
order to get muscles in shape or "toned," a person has to work
against something. On land, a person fights gravity, but
water limits the effect of gravity on the body.
Aquatics: 'Hard to Resist'
Mike Jandzen, Aquatics Director at the Sea Colony Resort in
Bethany Beach, Delaware, who is responsible for managing
water fitness programs at the property's 12 pools
and fitness center, said hardcore athletes are drawn to
exercising in a gym because they prefer a more gravitational
type of resistance for muscle toning and strength training.
However, Jandzen said he is seeing more and more interest in
the property's aquatics programs, such as water aerobics
and water exercise, because they can be enjoyed by young
and old alike and offer cardiovascular conditioning, strength
training and muscle toning while greatly reducing the impact on
muscles and joints.
"Over the past several years we've seen aquatics becoming the
exercise vehicle of choice," he said. "We've had a
water exercise unit in our aqua therapy pool for
many years, and it's constantly in use. Our senior guests enjoy
it for therapy as well as for strength training and muscle
toning. The water aspect makes it low impact. It's easy
to use, easy on joints and easy on muscles because buoyancy
relieves the demands placed on all body parts."
Every time a person gets into the pool, he or she is losing
weight from the resistance that water provides, noting
that the resistance of water is 12 times that of air.
When exercising in water, the body still creates extra heat
because muscles are being used. However, the body has a much
easier time transferring your exercise heat to the
water than it does to the air. The result is a workout
that immediately feels refreshing and cool, and not hot and
soggy from sweat.
A quality Water Workout Station provides Body Sculpting
exercises, including standing squats, lateral pull ups, hanging
leg pulleys, closed-grip pull ups, forward dips, single knee
extensions/curls, leg diamonds, abdominal press, reverse
abdominal and straight abdominal curl. Cardio Circuits provide
13 exercises, including: squat and lift, reverse lunge, chin
ups, cardio-sprint, single bicep curls, body swings, cardio
bobbing jumping jacks, single knee tucks, seat push ups,
cardio-seated bicycle, oblique reach, reverse leg pull-downs
and cardio-seated bicycle. There is also a Power Circuit, which
incorporates aerobic and muscular conditioning, including: lat
pull up/body swing combo, closed grip pull-up/reverse curl
combo, cardio hurdles, reverse dip abductor/adductor cross
combo, hanging curl-skate kick combo, cardio-cross country ski,
body pike push-up combo, cardio seat down sprinting, straight
curl-alternating elbow and cardio - seat down leg flurries.
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