Whether you’ve been doing aqua aerobics for years or just starting to work out, there are always new ways to improve your performance. With the right information, you can learn more about your body, improve your skills, and reach your fitness goals. In this post, we’ll go over ten aqua hacks that can help you get the best performance from your aqua aerobics. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to improve their performance in the pool.
How to Boost Aquatic Performance
Your performance in aqua aerobics will depend on how well you can execute movements, control your body position and breathing patterns, to maximize the benefits and reach your fitness goals. These are top ten little known tips to maximize your performance in the pool:
1. Exercise in Cold Water
Cold water makes your body work harder to maintain the body temperature. This is ideal if you want to lose weight or gain muscle mass. Learn more about exercising in cold water.
Visualization is a common practice in sports and it can used in aqua fitness as well, especially for difficult movements that require a level of technique. Visualization allows you to create an accurate visual representation of a particular movement in your head first, before performing it in the pool. This method helps to improve your technique and boost your performance.
3. Exercise During Your Peaks
There are specific times of day when our bodies are in their most alert state, and therefore work more efficiently. This peak is determined by factors such as sleep cycle and other daily habits. You too can identify your peak hours by the period when you feel the most energetic. You can even adjust your peak hours to meet your workout schedule. So if for example you start regular workout sessions early in the morning, your body will gradually adapt to that early time and boost it’s internal functions that are necessary for physical activity.
4. Listen To Your Body
Your body's reaction to physical activity can determine your ideal pace. It can tell you whether you're over-exercising, under-exercising or if you are causing harm. By listening to your body, you will know when you need to keep up, speed up, slow down or completely stop. These indications include your respiratory and heart rates, muscle pain or fatigue, soreness, nausea or dizziness.
Knowing at what pace you want to work out is critical because it helps you achieve your fitness goals. For example, if you are breathing easily and comfortably during workouts then you are not exercising enough to reach your anaerobic or endurance capacity. But that level could be adequate for Pilates. Whereas if you are gasping for air then you might be working too hard, and even causing harm to your body. Measuring your heart rate can also tell you at which intensity your body is working. Although not easily noticeable like breathing, a heart rate could give you the most accurate results. You can use a watch-based Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) to track your heart rate during exercise and adjust your efforts accordingly.
5. Write Down Your Progress
Taking notes after each workout will give you a benchmark to measure your progress. So for example, you can monitor how you felt during the peak of the workout, or what muscles you felt more. Or if you managed to follow the instructions correctly, or any other noticeable changes like discomfort, increased range of motion, efficiency, endurance etc. You don't need to be an expert in order to create your own progress chart. And you don't have to write in a strict scientific language either. Just have fun with it.
The next step is to assess your performance. After some time, take out your notes and see what you have achieved, where you have progressed and where you need to improve. This will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses and use that data to improve your performance.
6. Slow Down, But Don't Stop
Don’t quit when you’re tired. You can either slow down or change the movement. So, for example, if you are doing high kicks in shallow pool and you start feeling out of breath, don’t just suddenly stop. Instead, switch to a slower, less intense activity. Try different ways of kicking that make you feel more comfortable. Or you might switch to another exercise like jogging on spot until you are ready for the high kicks again. This will ensure that your heart rate never drops too fast, and that your aerobic performance lasts longer.
7. Be Consistent
If you want to get results from your aqua aerobics workout, make sure you are consistent in your workouts. If you do not exercise regularly, your body will have a difficult time adapting to the exercises. Consistency is key when it comes to fitness and the longer you can keep yourself consistent, the more likely you will see results. Some people find this to be the most difficult part. Maybe you should try to find a partner to exercise with you, so that you can stay motivated.
8. Don't Forget Land Exercises
Land exercises are a lot more challenging for your skeletal, muscular, and aerobic systems. They also help in overall balance and stability, beside many other benefits. This makes land exercises a valuable complement to your aquatic training program.
Try performing some of the aqua aerobic movements on land and you will notice how after some time you’ll be able to perform them much better in the pool. This is because when we do land exercises, our bodies are forced to adapt to new challenges. We learn to control our muscles in different ways. Then we have to coordinate our movements between the two environments, so we become better at that. In short, when you train both on land and in the pool, you’ll give yourself a more complete fitness program. So why not try to combine the two worlds?
9. Positive Thinking
Your mind plays a major role in how you perform in your aqua exercise program. Thinking positively about the outcome of your workout will increase your motivation. This is particularly important if you don't see results after some time. Your mental attitude will also influence your level of exertion during your workouts. You can be highly motivated to train hard if you have a positive outlook, while you may not want to put forth any effort if you are feeling down or unmotivated.
10. Don't Be a Perfectionist
You're not going to get everything right the first time, so be patient and don't over-complicate your form. Sometimes, trying too hard to perfect your movements may prevent you from performing at your best. Perfecting your movement takes time. If you're practicing a technique, you'll only get better if you keep at it. So don't get so caught up in the art of movement that you neglect the most important part of your aqua aerobics session, which is to exercise.
The above tips are general. There's no one size fits all. What works for you doesn't necessarily work for someone else. Always remember to exercise safely and to consult your physician.
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