About Our Aqua Yoga Workout
Aqua Yoga is a form of yoga that is done in water. It is a great way to do a variation of your regular yoga practice.
The general assumption is you are going to get your hair wet. When I first heard about doing yoga in a pool my mind went to a down dog drowning pose. As a person who hates to get their head wet, I’m not a swimmer, I imagined that this would be torture for me.
Thankfully, that’s not what happened. My logical mind told me that there’s no way anyone would attend an Aqua Yoga class if their head were under water. So I decided to learn how to teach a water yoga class for my clients at Paradise.
What I found was a truly enjoyable experience. Drowning and being tortured weren’t a part of the practice at all. In reality it was a fun, floaty, comfortable yoga workout with none of the imagined pains. After years of teaching yoga on land, this felt like a gentle massage, with water helping to hold me up, and I didn’t have gravity pushing my body to a crash.
If you want to try Aqua Yoga I highly recommend finding a class, having an instructor is the way ideal to get started. But, there really are not enough water yoga teachers and you may find it difficult to attend a class near you. So, here’s what you need to do yoga in your own pool.
Before beginning your practice, you’re going to want to make sure you are comfortable in the water. Turn up the heat to about 90 f, or put on insulated swim wear or a wetsuit in cold temperatures. If the pool is outdoors remember your sunglasses, a protective hat, and wear sun screen. (Our pools at Paradise are indoors plus we heat them to 92 f.) Have a water bottle poolside for when you get thirsty. And finally, get into your pool at about waist deep to chest deep. All poses described here are done at this depth.
Now try this simple routine. You can follow it using just your body and the support of the water:
1. **Warm-up**: Begin by warming up your body. You can do this by walking in the pool, changing directions, backwards, lsideways, using longer and longer strides. Be sure you are using your whole foot with each step. Walk and slowly swing your arms back and forth, in and out, front and back, explore big moves that just feel right. Be aware of your breath flowing comfortably, in & out slowly through your nose; ribcage to belly expanding as you inhale; core engaging you exhale. Breath cycles done like this will flow continuously, connected to your mental focus and connected to your body’s movement. Do this for about five minutes or until you feel warmed up.
2. **Mountain Pose (Tadasana)**: Stand straight, feet hip-width apart and neutral in their alignment with your knees. Let your arms relax by your sides, they might be floating on the surface of the water. Soften your knees, feel your weight equal on both legs. Focusing your eyes on something stable in front of you may help your balance. Feel your feet on the floor, create a tripod balance at your heel, ball of the foot above your big toe, and the ball of the foot above your little toe. To increase your stability lift your toes, root your tripod feet—lifting the arches— wiggle them, then set your toes down wide on the pool floor. Maintain this pose for about 3 to 5 breath cycles. Mountain Pose is your home base, you may return to this pose at any point in a yoga workout.
3. **Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)**: Starting from Mountain Pose, put your weight to your right foot. Bend your left knee, pivot at your hip to turn it outward, and place the sole of your left foot anywhere on the inside of your right leg except pressing on the knee. You can use the pool wall for balance if needed. Feel your right foot’s tripod balance on the pool floor. Arms can reach overhead to build up your balance challenge. Hold for 3-5 breath cycles, then switch sides by returning to Mountain Pose, weight on your left foot, pivot your right knee outward, etc. Ideally you have the same balance, strength, and range of motion on the other side.
(Return to Mountain Pose to transition to the next move.)
4. **Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)**: Stand with your feet wide apart. Turn your right foot out to the side and bend your right knee. Stretch out your arms so they're parallel to your legs, one reaching forward, one reaching back in a T shape. Turn your head to look over your right hand. Hold for 3-5 breath cycles. Then switch sides by going to Mountain Pose, stepping wide, repeating everything on your left side. Create symmetry between both sides as you find your footing.
(Return to Mountain Pose to transition to the next move.)
5. **Chair Pose (Utkatasana)**: In a standing position, imagine sitting back into a chair. Find a depth that allows you to have both feet on the floor. Keep your knees over your ankles, and float your arms out wide in a T position. To increase challenge raise your arms overhead, draw your shoulder blades into your ribcage, away from your ears. The water will help support you in this pose. Hold for 3-5 breath cycles.
(Return to Mountain Pose to transition to the next move.)
6. **Corpse Pose (Shavasana)**: Finally, your “cool down” is a balance of relaxation and meditation. By simply floating on your back, taking in the sensation of the water against your skin, and breathing deeply. If you are not comfortable floating, like me, you can use the pool wall or the pool stairs and be relaxed onto them. (Use small noodles under your body if you like but they are not needed.) Do this for about five to ten minutes or until you feel ready to stand up, flex your toes & fingers, and stretch your body.
Safety is paramount, and you should only attempt these poses if you are comfortable in the water. Practice within your level, but you knew that already. A yoga practice is NEVER supposed to be “no pain no gain”. Instead it is a safe exploration of self-actualization. It's so very important to respect your body's limits and not push into any poses that cause discomfort, pain, or an inability to breathe easily.
Remember, the goal of Aqua Yoga, like traditional yoga, is not only physical conditioning but also mental relaxation and mindfulness. Enjoy the soothing effect of the water and the gentle, low-impact workout it provides.
We would love to see you in our Aqua Yoga at Paradise. Call our front desk to check for space availability and schedule your classes. 775-883-4434 ext 0
How to Maximize Your Pool Running Workout
Do you want to get a great cardio workout without the risk of impact injury? Pool running might be the perfect solution! Pool running is an innovative form of exercise that can provide you with the same cardiovascular and muscular benefits as outdoor running, but without the impact on your joints. There is greater resistance depending on the depth you are in, your running tempo, and what exercise equipment you choose.
Pool running is a simple yet effective form of exercise that requires minimal equipment. All you will need is a swimming pool and some basic pool exercise gear like a swimsuit or form-fitting workout garments. You might also need a pool noodle or a belt, and perhaps a pair of arch-supporting water shoes, depending on the depth of pool running you wish to do. Adding some handheld pool exercise equipment can really amp up your cardio workout.
There are several different pool running techniques you can use to maximize your workout. Running in place underwater is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn some calories.
Start with a warm-up. In general, dynamic stretching such as marching, jacks, leg curls, and lunges for 5 to 10 minutes is a great way to get started.
End with a cool-down. Depending on the temperature of your pool, you can do some static stretches (warm water) or dynamic stretches (cold water).
Use a pool noodle or pool belt for flotation and/or extra resistance to increase cardio. Just use your arms along with your legs for a more aerobic full-body workout.
Change up your water depth. Running in place in different depths dramatically changes the outcome and your experience.
For instance, if you want vigorous aerobic exercise, you will want to run fully suspended in the deep water. That means your feet don’t touch the pool floor. Fully suspended exercises like deep water running will need flotation equipment. You may want to adjust your depth so that you can feel your feet underneath you for better balance.
As you get shallower in the water, gravity starts having a stronger influence on your body. This can have the effect of improving the strength of your ankles and feet as you rebound. You may not want to run in place, but rather travel across the pool. Traveling across the pool is more challenging due to the forces of water.
One of the laws of water is that the faster something moves, the greater the resistance. Therefore, if you run to a tempo that is 76 bpm (beats per minute), you will find your exertion is moderate. Do the same exercise at 132 bpm, and you’ll find that your exertion is much more intense compared to your exertion on land.
Increasing the surface area has the same intensity-building effect. This is what pool exercise equipment is for. Finding your sweet spot is a bit of an experimental process.
Pool exercise equipment comes in three forms: flotation (buoyant) equipment, resistance (drag) equipment, or both forces (combo). Dumbbells are very common and are held in your hands while running. Some are made of foam, have rounded edges, and are primarily used for their flotation resistance. Combo dumbbells, such as triangle-shaped, give you resistance when you push against the flat side. Resistance handbells and paddles are made out of hard plastic and provide no flotation resistance. Their purpose is to increase the surface area that you are working against (drag).
They come in different sizes. For running, choose smaller sizes over larger sizes and pick up the tempo of your run when you feel you are ready to take it to the next level.
Don’t use any handheld pool equipment while running if you have shoulder, elbow, or wrist issues; use webbed gloves instead. Bathing-suit material gloves are great for adding resistance. They are small, light-weight, and travel easily.
Without using a flotation belt or pool noodle, you will be struggling to keep your head above water, decreasing the efficiency of the exercise and your enjoyment of pool running. The preferred equipment is a belt. It provides enough flotation so you’re not struggling and the greatest mobility. Straddling a pool noodle will keep you afloat but doesn’t give you the control or the abdominal activation of a belt.
Ankle cuffs provide the same benefits as handheld equipment. Use either flotation cuffs or resistance cuffs to make your run more challenging.
As with any form of exercise, safety should be your first priority. It is a common assumption that you can’t hurt yourself pool running. However, poor posture and bad body alignment will strain the wrong muscles. Therefore, keep your powerful posture, engage your core to stabilize your spine, and make sure to listen to your body if you start to feel any pain or discomfort. Wearing water shoes increases your enjoyment and safety in pool jogging. They protect your skin plus help ensure your arches and ankles are in proper alignment.
Pool running is a great way to get a low-impact cardio workout without the risk of joint or muscle injury. Not only is it a great way to stay in shape, but it can also be a fun and relaxing way to enjoy the water. With the proper technique and safety measures, you can maximize your workout and reap the benefits of pool running.
If you are looking for more variation in your pool running routine, you may want to consider using the Ability Fix app. This app includes a variety of pool running exercises, as well as helpful instructional videos. All exercises and workouts are categorized by a person’s mobility level. With the help of the Ability Fix app, you can take your pool running to the next level.
Water Exercise has Potential Pain Relief Benefits
Would you be surprised to learn that, for some, water exercise may help serve as an effective, natural pain reliever? For people looking for a more holistic approach to pain relief, water aerobics exercises can be an excellent way to deal with mobility challenges and may help reduce pain, among other benefits.
If you’ve ever been injured or dealt with chronic pain, the low-impact nature of water-based exercising can help you relax, feel less discomfort, and improve your fitness. Here are a few detailed benefits of aquatic exercise for pain relief and how you might benefit from water aerobics (aquatic workouts).
Water Alleviates Gravitational Pressure
Gravity can be a real drag sometimes—mainly because it’s constantly exerting force against your body. When the body is submerged in water, however, you may alleviate gravitational pressure by up to 90%. When you decrease weight-bearing by that much, it can help to release tension throughout the body.
With less tension, inflammation may decrease and the joints may also be given a chance to replenish synovial fluid, simply by moving. People are often able to retrain their muscles, may improve joint mobility, and can experience a greater range of motion. The buoyancy of water is a refreshing break from the constant force of gravity.
Hydrostatic Pressure May Be Beneficial
Hydrostatic pressure is due to the force of gravity exerted on the immersed body by fluid molecules. Hydrostatic pressure is directly proportional to depth measured from the surface. If you’ve ever gone scuba diving, you’ve probably noticed that the deeper you go, the more pressure you feel in the ears, for example. That is hydrostatic pressure in a nutshell.
In terms of aquatic exercise, being underwater up to your chest should feel slightly compressing, which may be good for improving circulation and heart and lung function. Hydrostatic pressure also may help reduce sensory stimulation associated with pain to offer more relief. The pool may also be a place to feel safer, which reduces the perception of danger to your nervous system.
Release of Endorphins
Endorphins are nature’s way of helping your body relax and feel less stress. People who regularly exercise often get a positive mood boost. It’s not only runners who get to experience the phenomenon known as “runner’s high.” The rejuvenating nature of water combines both physical and psychological benefits in part because endorphins make you feel happier and calmer.
Just like any form of exercise, aquatic workouts can be as hard or as easy as you make them. If you want to improve your range of motion, strength, and help reduce pain all while getting a great cardio workout, use the water to your advantage. Land-based activities aren’t the only way to get in shape!
About Ability Fix
For when you want the benefit of water aerobics classes on your own schedule, Ability Fix is an award-winning mobile app that provides an accessible way to get fit regardless of your current physical ability level. Using any body of water, participants are guided through easy-to-understand aquatic exercises that may incrementally improve balance, flexibility, strength, and cardio with less pain. App users can customize their own routine or select a predefined workout with any device, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, smart TVs, and Bluetooth headphones. The Ability Fix aquatics fitness app officially launched at the beginning of 2020 with 50 exercises and three Ai Chi routines. The forgiving water environment is fun, effective, and you can make your aquatic exercise routine as challenging as you’d like.
Learn more about Ability Fix at www.abilityfix.com
Resistance Training in Water May Improve Bone Strength
Water Exercise for Older Adults Is Beneficial for Bones, Muscles, and Overall Health
For aging adults, bone loss is a significant health concern. We start to lose muscles used for powerful and quick movements that stimulate bone health as we age. Exercises associated with positive bone maintenance and growth are typically land-based, where weight-bearing and high-impact activities are proven to improve bone density.
The problem is those types of exercises aren’t always the best choice for older adults with chronic disorders, injuries, or physical limitations. That’s where water-based exercise like water aerobics reigns supreme. Even if water exercise is low impact, it’s not necessarily less effective in preventing age-related bone deterioration. Here are several reasons why water exercise is good for your bones and how it may decrease the rate of bone loss.
If someone has osteoporosis, for example, resistance training and mechanical loading are necessary. But not everyone can do land exercises, so water is a great place to exercise because it provides resistance with every movement. Muscles become strengthened with consistent water exercise. When you move your body in the pool, the low-impact resistance activates your muscles to help make them more flexible and mobile.
When you push against water, it pushes back. By using maximum effort in your strength training exercises in water without shortening the range of motion, bone mineral density is typically at least maintained if not improved, according to a study on postmenopausal women.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in Water
In the HIIT format, aquatic workouts target major muscle groups. These types of water aerobics classes or workouts are for adults who are healthy and fit for the most part because you are getting your heart rate up in bursts of exertion and then resting to catch your breath (recovery).
Maximum effort exercises that encourage jumping in water may help maintain bone density and prevent yearly decline. HIIT in the pool is rigorous enough for athletes and older adults who have no permanent physical limitations. Leg strength and agility are likely to increase over time, not to mention your cardio, but the key is consistency.
Pool Exercise May Help Reduce Falls
In addition to improved cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, flexibility, and bone density maintenance, water exercise may help reduce the number of falls and improve balance. The study on postmenopausal women in their 50s-60s mentioned above showed a significant decrease in falls among the aquatic exerciser group. The women in the six-month study were also taking vitamin D and calcium supplements, vitamins known to help build muscle and bone. With better balance, you are less likely to fall as well.
Water exercise has numerous health benefits, especially when you get in the pool with the intention of firing up your muscles and getting a great workout. Low-impact doesn’t mean low effort!
About Ability Fix
Ability Fix is an award-winning mobile app that provides an accessible way to get fit with exercises for water aerobics, regardless of your current physical ability level. Using any body of water, participants are guided through easy-to-understand aquatic exercises that may incrementally improve balance, flexibility, strength, and cardio with less pain. App users can customize their own routine or select a predefined workout with any device, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, smart TVs, and Bluetooth headphones. The Ability Fix aquatics fitness app officially launched at the beginning of 2020 with 50 exercises and three Ai Chi routines. The forgiving water environment is fun, effective, and you can make your aquatic exercise routine as challenging as you’d like.
Learn more about Ability Fix at www.abilityfix.com
STARR GETS CERTIFIED BY THE AQUATIC EXERCISE ASSOCIATION
Paradise is proud to announce that Starr Nixdorf has completed and been certified by the Aquatic Exercise Association's AFP (Aquatic Fitness Professional) Practical & Skills Application Course in Visalia, CA, on June 1st, 2014. Starr also attended courses for Upper Body, Core & More which expands on her Pilates and Yoga instructor background, and the Aquabata Shallow program.
AquaBata takes the latest trend in fitness, Tabata, to the water. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), including the specialized Tabata format, transitions into the water with high-powered results. According to the AEA, "Dr Izumi Tabata conducted a study to determine if very short, very high intensity bouts of training, followed by even shorter rest periods, could benefit the elite athletes of the Japanese speed skating team. Results were published in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, and showed that the subjects improved VO2 max, this in turn translated into improved performance on the ice. The other interesting finding was the Tabata Protocol improved both the anaerobic energy system (responsible for short, high intensity exercise, such as sprints) and the aerobic energy system (used for endurance exercise, such as distance running). Results from this 1996 study showed a 28 percent increase in anaerobic capacity and a 14 percent increase in VO2 max in six weeks."
BENEFITS OF AQUATIC EXERCISE POST PHYSICAL THERAPY
Water therapy isn’t new; it’s a method which has been used for thousands of years all over the world. Bathing in spring water was known to help Romans and Greeks to treat illness, thermal waters in Sweden were used to treat their ill and elderly, Japanese early on recognized the mental and physical benefits of their hot springs (referred to as onsen) and in Germany physicians widely prescribed a variety of water therapies. Aquatic exercise is often used as a remedy for sore joints and muscles, is a great way to improve muscle tone, and is incredibly low impact. The resistance provided by water means that you can get a great workout without having to bother about using weights or suffering further injury by misjudging your ability. Exercise done in a pool, lake or ocean can improve your flexibility, balance, and coordination. It can also help build up your endurance, assist with proper gait and maintain or improve mobility. You’ll probably also notice that your exercises performed in water allow you to reduce your stress level and is a wonderful way to promote relaxation. Your natural buoyancy means that you can go through your motions with a decreased gravitational pull, lessening compression and making exercises easier to do than if you were on land.
If you’ve suffered an injury, stroke, or some other type of condition and have completed your physical therapy, aquatic exercise can be a wonderful next step. There are several benefits to exercise in your local pool or body of water;
Your body has an incredible number of nerve endings in both your muscles and your skin. The pressure from being submerged in water creates constant stimulus, and your brain will be inclined to dull the part of the nervous system that is responsible for managing tactile sensory neurons so as to not feel overwhelmed. This allows you to stretch and move with less pain that you may otherwise be experiencing. Even those sensitive or averse to being touched often feel more at ease while exercising in a pool as their physical senses are dulled.
Your heart and lungs work harder under water than on land because your chest cavity is under constant increased pressure from being submerged in water. (This means that one workout can have further reaching benefits than the same workout on land.) Think of the pool as a compression bandage for your entire body, which helps to alleviate some of the chronic pain you may be feeling, allowing you to reach further and work harder. The increased blood flow from the compression on your heart and lungs will help to pump oxygen rich blood to your extremities, something that can go great lengths with the healing process.
You won’t need to have exercise equipment to get a fantastic workout that touches every muscle in your body and allows you a wide range of movement. Your muscles will recover faster in less pain, and you don’t have to worry about falling as the water helps you to maintain balance. You’re forced to move a lot more slowly while submerged in water, and this means that your brain and muscles have more time to process each and every movement, building a far better muscle memory as you go along. You’re also more likely to perform each movement with more precision, and have time to focus on form.
With many exercises, you tend to focus on one or another muscle or part of your body instead of using your entire body at once. Being in the water helps you to locate and make use of your core, and generally the movements allow for your entire body or many more groups of muscles to be addressed at once.
One of the pleasant side effects of being in water is the massage that water can give. Even a gentle flow or waves being produced from exercising bodies can give enough of a current that feels nice and can help relax tired or sore muscles. Buoyancy also helps relieve pressure on the feet, ankles and legs.
Let’s not forget that being in a pool is just plain fun. The enjoyment that can be had during an exercise class; either as part of a group or solo, can be a part of the day that you’ll look most forward to. The fact that you feel better and better after each session will give you the motivation you need to go back and make further progress. Almost any exercise that you can do in a gym has an alternate under the water. The more pleasant and enjoyable your exercise is, the more likely it will be that you’ll stick with it on your road back to good health and well-being.
This article was written by Nina Wells from Vidalux. She has over 10 years’ experience in writing health related topics and specializes in the health benefits of saunas and hydrotherapy.
AI CHI AS THE NEW YOGA
When the world looks for a way to find an exercise that gives outer strength, inner strength, and spiritual well-being, we often look east towards Asia. The Indian practice of yoga has become so popular that even non-practitioners know the nomenclature (“Namaste”) and wear the outfits. But yoga is very popular and no longer just among Indians or women looking for a new way to stretch out. Both sexes use it and both women and men say that it makes their body lither and clears their heads. Yoga is very popular, but not the only way for a person to get their mind and body in order. Ai Chi moves are similar to Tai Chi moves and it uses breathing and exercise in the water for the individual. Is Ai Chi a substitute for yoga? Is it the new yoga?
Ai Chi was started in back in the mid-1980s by a Japanese man named Jun Kunno. Kunno was looking for a water-based therapy that could give the benefits of a massage-based therapy without the touching. The key to therapy was to get the practitioner to relax while at the same time working the muscles. Just like Tai Chi and many other Asian exercise programs, Ai Chi focuses on moving continuously. Doing this underwater gives it a relaxing aspect which can make the therapy to people of a wide age range, up to and including the very elderly.
How does Ai Chi compare to Yoga? Both use breathing as one of the keys to the exercise. Both also use movement. This is where the differences really begin. Yoga uses movement to get into position and which the person than holds. This is how yoga gives its full potential to create the positive energy. This energy helps gives the Yoga student his or her spiritual fulfillment. Ai Chi, on the other hand, creates energy and relaxation through continuous movement.
The spiritual side of both yoga and Ai Chi both are both buttressed by their meditative aspects. While one is doing these routines, they are also meditating, clearing the mind of those everyday problems that are adding to the stress in their lives. The goal of each is to walk away at peace with one’s self that will carry on from this session to the next.
What about the long term benefits? Both have proven as treatments for some of the more common and chronic medical conditions. Ai Chi can help lower blood pressure and the symptoms of arthritis. It’s even given Parkinson’s disease sufferers relief. Yoga is also known to help relieve blood pressure, relieve chronic muscle pain, and give relief to those sufferings from depression. It also helps give some pain relief to those suffering from heart disease and cancer. Therefore, in this respect, both Ai Chi and Yoga can give you similar benefits.
Aside from the movements, there is a huge difference. Ai Chi is done in a pool, where the session begins as students stand in water up to their shoulders. Someone who practices Yoga (a yogi) will be seen walking around with a mat to their local ashram or Yoga studio, which could be anywhere. So Ai Chi has some disadvantage in that the user must have the access to a pool. On the other hand, this gives Ai Chi more universal appeal to a larger crowd. Founder Kuonno intended that his new program using the relaxing powers of water to make his therapy work. Anyone who has been in a pool knows how relaxing the water can be, and this goes for people of all ages. Therefore Ai Chi has an appeal for octogenarians who might find the poses of Yoga a bit of stretch.
Benefits of an Ai Chi Regime
As we have stated above, Ai Chi uses the holistic approach to health combining movement, spiritual, and mental. How does it accomplish these benefits? Well, water gives resistance, so as one is moving in it, the action gives the muscles an additional workout. Yet, while one is the water, one is able to position oneself in positions not as easily achieved through yoga.
There are 19 movements to Ai Chi. They are done in progression, starting with the upper torso while the body remains static. When these are completed, the pupil moves to exercises that simulate the land-based Tai Chi, moving the body around. Because one is in the water as these movements progress, balance can be easily maintained. The soothing aspects of being in the water are also an advantage.
So will yogis turn in their mats for a trip to the pool? Both are great ways to improve your life without resorting to traditional medicine or pharmaceuticals. Both use a holistic approach to change the adopter’s outlook on life as well as limber up the body.
The difference may come down to demographics. When someone thinks of yoga, they think of a young woman with a Yoga mat heading to a workout in her yoga pants. On the other hand, any sort of pool exercise is linked to an older bunch in the local pool. Putting aside which one has more health benefits, as long as an exercise is linked to the retirement crowd, the advantage will go to yoga. But stay tuned, utility sometimes wins.
This article was written by Nina Wells from Steamshowerstore. She has over 10 years’ experience in writing health related topics and specializes in the health benefits of saunas and hydrotherapy.