What if I told you that exercising doesn't have to be boring or painful to burn calories and stay healthy? Aqua aerobics is a fun and safe way to burn calories. But to reap the benefits of aqua aerobics, we need to practice it properly.
DOES AQUA AEROBICS BURN CALORIES?
First, how does calorie-burning happen?
Our body needs energy to function. When we eat food, our body breaks down that food into fuel sources which our cells use to produce energy. We measure this energy conversion process by an energy unit called a calorie. When we move, our body uses its stored energy to enable muscles to function. And that is how we burn calories.
So, what determines how much calories we burn per activity?
There are many factors that influence calorie-burning rate. The first is the intensity and duration of an activity. The higher the intensity/duration, the more calories we burn. There is also the efficiency and the rate at which our body can produce energy from food. Not all people have the same metabolic rate due to age, gender, size, weight, etc. Finally, there are outside factors such as temperature, humidity, air pressure, etc.
So, does aqua aerobics burn calories?
Any activity burns calories. Even when we are sitting still, our body uses energy to sustain itself. But how much of that is enough to lose weight for example? That depends on how hard and how long we work out in the pool. If we push ourselves throughout the entire session, we can burn enough calories. The most effective intensity is a prolonged one that makes our breathing difficult. But if we move at a low pace, we may not achieve our weight loss goals.
How does burning calories in the pool compare to land aerobics?
When we exercise on land we carry our weight and work against gravity. This requires more energy to lift the body weight than exercising in water. Water takes up the bulk of our body weight which puts less load on our working muscles. But that doesn't mean exercising in water doesn't burn enough calories. We still have to move against water's resistance. And because water is denser than air, it is more difficult to move in it. Water's resistance creates a drag force which restricts your movement. The drag force is proportional to the speed and the size of the body. The higher the speed, the higher the drag force. The higher the drag force, the more calories you will burn.
But unlike on land, aquatic exercises reduce the risk of injury. Thus it is more convenient to exercise in water than on land. Water also makes exercising more fun and less sweaty. Thus aqua aerobics users are more likely to stick to exercise routines.
How Much Could we Burn Per Aqua Aerobic Session?
There is no universal formula that can tell us how many calories we burn during an exercise. These estimates should be done on an individual basis. For example a 45 min aqua-aerobic workout could burn anywhere between 150 to 600 calories. Estimating calorie burning rate without knowing personal data is very difficult.
Aqua aerobics is a slow but steady way to burn calories. It may not compare to land aerobics in terms of intensity, but it is safe and more convenient. Workout intensity and duration are very important in estimating calorie burn. If you're not sure about the intensity of your workout, ask your aqua fitness instructor. Other factors affect the calorie burning rate as well.
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