Aqua running (also known as aqua jogging) is becoming increasingly popular, not only for those with sports injuries or mobility problems, but for anyone looking for a low impact, fun exercise.
What is Aqua Running?
Aqua running is running in a deep water swimming pool. You wear a flotation device to hold your torso steady and keep you afloat, so you can concentrate on running. You will move quite slowly through the water, even though you expend a lot of energy. You can also use various arm movements for different effects. A basic style of aqua running is to simply move the same way you would while running on land, while leaning forward slightly to maintain your balance.
Aqua running is very low impact, as your feet and hands don't need to push against an unyielding surface and the water supports your weight. So, there is little chance of damaging your joints and muscles, and usually very little muscle soreness afterwards. This makes it an excellent exercise for the elderly and overweight, for exercise beginners and for pregnant women. Even though it is low impact, the water provides enough resistance for movements to be effective in burning calories and strengthening muscles.
What Equipment is Needed for Aqua Running?
When aqua running, you need to use a special belt, which will allow you to float and maintain the correct posture. Without the belt, you may end up flailing, or expending too much energy trying to stay afloat, rather than on proper technique. For those who find the belt too restrictive or uncomfortable, there are vests similar to life vests which can be used for aqua jogging. Many public swimming pools provide aqua running belts for free, or for a small rental fee. You can also purchase special shoes and gloves designed to make your aqua running workout more difficult, but these are not necessary.
The Benefits of Aqua Running
Aqua running is low impact and can be done by almost anyone. As the belts are often provided by a local pool, it is inexpensive, and using different leg and arm movements can provide a diverse workout every time. Aqua running can also be very social, as it is too low impact to make you very breathless, and if you aqua run with a friend, you can easily carry out a conversation. There also may be aqua running groups and clubs to join at your pool. Aqua running burns around 600-700 calories per hour, depending on your body mass and how vigorously you run. It provides an excellent workout on the legs, particularly the front thigh muscles, as they do much of the work. It doesn't work the arms quite as hard as swimming normally would, but depending on your technique, can still provide them with a good workout.
Aqua running is an excellent exercise that will suit most people. It can cut down on sports injuries or be used as a valuable rehabilitation exercise, as well as providing a low impact workout.