Archive for the ‘Water Fitness’ Category

Components of a Workout

Fitness, Health, Water Fitness | Posted by Ang
Oct 06 2009

The following information has been taken from the American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety Manual. This manual is used for the Water Safety Instructor Certification Course offered by the American Red Cross. For more information on the WSI certification and other courses please visit the American Red Cross site.

No matter what type of exercise program you are looking at starting, please visit your physician to help decide what type, intensity, and duration of a program would be right for you.

In the last entry I discussed the Concepts or Phases of a Fitness Program.  This entry is taking it a step further and discussing the components involved in a workout.  There are 5 components to a workout that will help safely and effectively take you through your workout.  These components are:

  1. Warm-Up
  2. Stretching
  3. Aerobic Set
  4. Muscular Development Set
  5. Cool-Down


The Warm-Up is used to prepare the individual’s body for exercise by increasing blood flow and helping to adjust the body to the workout environment.¬† It should last anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.¬† When performing a water workout it may include walking, jogging, and/or low intensity swimming.

Stretching helps to make the individual’s joints more flexible and improve the individual’s range of motion (ROM).¬† The individual may perform two types of stretching, static or dynamic.¬† Static stretching occurs when the movements are passively stretched by holding them from 10-30 seconds.¬† Dynamic stretching occurs as the individual exaggerates movements that replicate specific sports or exercise movements.¬† According to current research statics, stretching should be used after an exercise, while dynamic stretching my be used during warm-ups or right after them.

The Aerobic Set is important to develop cardiovascular fitness.¬† To benefit from the aerobic set, the individual needs to maintain their heart rate in¬† the individual’s target range for at least 30 minutes.¬† The Aerobic Set should¬† make up 50-70% of the workout time and distance.¬† When performing a workout in the water¬†(or outdoors)¬†an individual must remember that target heart rate range will vary due to differences in water temperature and/or air temperature.¬† The aquatics facility will have a harder time maintaining exactly the same climate than a land based workout facility.¬† Another way to track an individual’s exertion is by using the Rate of Perceived Exertion or the Talk-Test Method.¬† I will discuss these methods at another time.

The Muscular Development Set is recommended by the ACSM.  During this set, the muscles are progressively overloaded by using resistance training (weight lifting).  When in the water, an individual may incorporate barbells, balls, noodles, fins, paddles/gloves, kick-boards, and/or bungy cords just to name a few.  An Individual must make sure to warm up thoroughly and learn the proper way to execute each exercise, identify the proper weight to use for resistance, and the correct number of repetitions for their current fitness level.

The last component of a good workout is a Cool-Down.  (I prefer to the term warm-down.)  This component is to help bring the body back to pre-exercise condition levels.  It is important to slowly lower the heart rate and cool the body, and stretch the muscles to help prevent cramping and soreness after the workout.  This component should last between 5 and 10 minutes.

So when an individual plans their workout for the day they should include at least a warm-up, stretching, an aerobic set, and a cool-down.  Muscular sets may be added as well, but are not necessary for each workout.

Phases of a Fitness Program

Fitness, Health, Water Fitness | Posted by Ang
Sep 19 2009

The following information has been taken from the American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety Manual.  This manual is used for the Water Safety Instructor Certification Course offered by the American Red Cross.  For more information on the WSI certification and other courses please visit the American Red Cross site.   

No matter what type of exercise program you are looking at starting, please visit your physician to help decide what type, intensity, and duration of a program would be right for you.

When an individual decides to start a new fitness regiment, there are a 4 concepts or phases to consider:

  1. Initial Phase
  2. Improvement Phase
  3. Maintenance Phase
  4. Reversibility of Training 


To start, the Initial Phase should involve lower intensity exercises.  The idea of this phase is to slowly and comfortably increase the workload for the individual.  Once the person is able to comfortably maintain 60% intensity for 30 minutes, they are then ready to move on to the Improvement Phase.  It is important to remember that the individual must be patient during this phase, it may take up to 10 weeks before the individual is ready to move on.

The Improvement Phase begins where the Initial Phase left of as the individual reaches the minimum level to attain cardiovascular fitness.  The individual must set a goal for the Improvement Phase.  They must know what they want to achieve to allow them to complete this phase.  Fitness for the individual will improve as frequency, intensity, and/or duration increase.  The individual should start this level with the ability to workout at least 3 times a week for 20 minutes at a 60% intensity level.  Improvement will come faster for those individuals who are working out 5 times a week, than those individuals who are only working out 3 times a week.  Improvement comes quicker during the Improvement Phase.

The third phase is used to maintain the fitness level when the individual reaches their goal from the Improvement Phase.  The main goal of the Maintenance Phase is to simply sustain the individuals fitness level.  It allows the individual the freedom to set different goals, like learning a new stroke or a different activity to vary their program.

The last concept to consider is the concept of Reversibility Training.  This is the one concept an individual should avoid if at all possible.  After an individual has achieved their desired fitness level they need to continue their program, for by ceasing their training or workout program, the individual will gradually return to the pre-exercise level.  It is important to remember that it does not make it any easier to return to shape if the individual has already been their once.  That individual will have to work just as hard to return to their desired fitness level as another individual who is working on achieving their desired level for the first time.  The key to remaining physically fit is for the individual to develop fitness habits that will last for a lifetime.

So when you are looking into starting a fitness program remember to consult your physician, be patient, relax, and keep it going once you start.

Working on Swimming Endurance

Fitness, Health, Water Fitness | Posted by Ang
Jul 13 2009

During the Course in which I participated last term I worked on both strength and endurance.  One of the tests I used for checking my progress was a 12 min swim.  I found this test by searching endurance swimming tests and found the following directions from the University of Michigan website:

This lab allows you to use whatever stroke you are comfortable with and compare your results to your age group.  You can also use the results to keep track of your improvement by repeating the swim every 2-3 weeks.

Winning Acceptance as a New Certified Instructor–By Gloria Amanda

Fitness, Health, Water Fitness | Posted by Ang
Jun 28 2009

Recently the newsletter from contained this article I thought was interesting.

My heart is racing as I hang up the phone. I am a newly certified WaterART Instructor.¬†I have just spoken to my first employer. ‚ÄúIf you can come in tomorrow at 5:00pm for an interview, I have a class at 8:00pm… you could teach every Monday for the next 10 weeks.‚Ä̬†What a rush of adrenalin!¬†

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Arthritis Program Functional Exercise – By Drusilla Leitch

Fitness, Health, Water Fitness | Posted by Ang
Jun 28 2005

The WaterARTTM Arthritis program has been developed to make life easier for people with arthritis to function more efficiently on land. Activities such as shopping, climbing stairs, enjoying social and sporting activities can all be simulated in the water with just a little imagination on the part of the Instructor.

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TARGET MUSCLES – Get to the ‚ÄúCORE‚ÄĚ of Stabilization – By Julie Twynham

Fitness, Health, Water Fitness | Posted by Ang
Jun 28 2005

Helping patrons get the most out of the WaterARTTM programs and doing it right is the primary responsibility of the fitness professional. Probably the greatest feature of water training is the constant abdominal and core stabilization training potential. Additionally, abdominals may be effectively targeted in the pain free environment of the water.
Part of exercise

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Healthy Benefits Of Water Fitness – By Julie Twynham

Fitness, Health, Water Fitness | Posted by Ang
Jun 28 2005
There is a common fallacy that exercise in the water is only suited for the elderly, the injured, or the overweight participant. Another false notion amongst many consumers is that you cannot get a “good workout” or improve performance with water exercise. Sure, as with any workout you may cheat yourself and float; however the water fitness programs of today are much more result oriented, as a result, an increasing number of educated and motivated professionals that have found the power of the liquid gym. Research shows that all levels of abilities may be greatly benefited with either shallow or deep water depths and programming.¬†


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Top Ten Benefits of a Water Workout — By Angela K. De Haan-Lovaas

Fitness, Health, Water Fitness | Posted by Ang
Jun 28 2005

It’s Social 

“After discussing this subject with several of my water aerobics classmates the consensus was that the most important benefit is the wonderful friendships we have made. While exercising we visit, sharing our good times and bad, sometimes to the exasperation of the instructors. 

These friendships carry over to our lives outside the pool. After our exercises we have a social hour where we meet at a fast food restaurant and visit or take part in the group doing cross word puzzles. We have a wonderful time while learning new words and facts. Our once-a-month birthday lunches, the picnic in summer at the home of one of our classmates, and the Christmas potluck party at the City Recreation Center are just a few of the outside benefits that can be directly attributed to the participation in water aerobics.

In addition to the recreational benefits, we are on call for each other in time of illness or other need.‚ÄĚ

Marge Peterson

Join in the fun with friends new and old as you improve and maintain your fitness level. A water fitness class has a very social atmosphere, allowing you to meet knew people. After continuing to participate you become part of a caring family, a family that looks after you and makes sure that everything is going ok.

Muscle Strengthening
Everyone wants to increase their body strength. By using the resistance created by movement through the water in repetitions of specific exercises muscle strength and endurance is increased. There are also tools such as barbells, bands, balls, and noodles available to increase the resistance of the water to help build stronger muscles. My favorite tool of resistance training is the bands which have helped me to increase muscle strength in my lower back and shoulders.

Range of motion (ROM) and Flexibility
Flexibility is an important part of just getting out of bed. The water allows for and enables stretching by deceasing the affect of muscle tightness. Water relaxes the muscles and allows for greater ROM. Many have said that after taking aquatic classes, including stretching exercises, a few times a week for a couple of months has helped them to have increased ROM, increased energy, and less fatigue.

Core Body Strengthening for Body Posture and Balance           

“The daily exercises help me maintain my strength and power.¬†Starting around age forty we begin to loose muscle.¬†I believe some of this is being avoided with water aerobics as it helps me maintain movement and balance.”

Carmen Stanislao

Core body strength is important for Body Posture and Balance. By performing specific exercises that increase core body muscle strength your body posture improves and helps, especially in women, reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other conditions resulting from aging. Core body muscle strength also helps to improve balance by using water resistance and learning to catch yourself when you fall. The exercises will also help to teach your body to react faster to regain balance.

Increased Cardiovascular Activity
In 2002 it is estimated that 70,100,000 had one or more forms of cardiovascular Disease.¬†According to The American Heart Association Cardiovascular Disease is still the nation’s #1 cause of death.¬†Many people are finding that performing a cardiovascular workout in the water is easier on their joints and muscles than on land.¬†Cardiovascular strengthening occurs in water workouts by increasing water resistance, intensity, duration, and ROM.¬†

Weight Loss
The underlying reason for most people to workout is weight loss. Using water exercise as part of a weight loss program allows you to, in many cases, double the amount of calories burned during your workout. Water resistance used efficiently will help to work your muscles effectively to burn more calories.

Injury Rehabilitation
With the emphasis on sports in our society today, many athletes are getting injured whether from practice or during games. These days many physicians have been directing patients to use the water to improve muscle strength around injuries, in a safe, low impact environment, which helps to reduce pain and speed recovery time. In some cases, depending on the injury, individuals may decrease the time spent in rehabilitation by up to 50%. [1]

Increase Your Energy Level
By getting moving, increasing your heart rate, and increasing the burning of fat calories, one can live a happier healthier lifestyle. When you feel good you have more energy to get through all of your planned activities.

Relieve Joint Pain
For those with joint swelling or the pain of arthritis water helps reduce the swelling and pain by supporting and reducing the effect of gravity. This reduction of gravity provides safe, low impact environment for movement during exercise.

Get a Massage
Who knew, just by walking through the water you can receive a massage? How is this possible? We have been talking about using the resistance of the water during exercise to accomplish our fitness goals. In the long run we find that a surprising benefit of the resistance is a massage received as the water gently pushes against the muscles during movement through the water.


©2005 Angela K. De Haan-Lovaas. All Rights Reserved.


Angela K. De Haan-Lovaas is a Certified Aquatic Fitness Instructor with both Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) and WaterART Fitness, and several Certifications with the American Red Cross. She also has a Teaching Certification in Technology Education with a Health Education Minor. She has been teaching Aquatic Fitness Classes for five years and teaching Swimming Lessons for six years.


[1] By using WaterART protocols for rehabilitation some individuals have reported a 50% decrease in the time spent recovering from ACL injuries.