It occurred to me that while I did write a post about my first time teaching Aqua Zumba, I had never really written a post about Aqua Zumba itself and what it was about and what to expect from a class.
At first glance you might assume that we just take all of our regular Zumba routines and do them in the water and call it Aqua Zumba. That simply isn’t the case. While there will sometimes be a routine that only needs a few tweaks to be made into an Aqua Zumba routine, those are very few and far between. Why? Because working in the water is a totally different beast than working on land. Many moves we do on the land simply don’t translate into that water (like the samba basic), and many of our routines that we do in regular Zumba are much too fast to be able to execute in the water. In Aqua Zumba, we use Zumba music, and our Zumba formula but use many traditional aqua fitness moves that have been “spiced up” with some Zumba flavour. Add in a few special Aqua Zumba moves and you’ve got yourself an Aqua Zumba class!
What’s the big deal? Why would I want to work out in the water??
Well one of the obvious ones is in the summer months when it’s hot outside it’s awesome to be able to do your workout in a pool where you keep cooler than on land because the water continuously wicks the sweat away from your body keeping your body temperature lower. In the water (when working in chest deep water) your working heart rate stays lower and recovers faster than on land, you have increased lung capacity, the water helps reduce swelling in the body as well as many, many other benefits. It is especially wonderful for people with arthritis or other inflammatory diseases as it does reduce swelling in submerged body parts, and is generally much easier on the joints than exercise on land.
WHen working in the water you get to take advantage of its multi directional resistance. On land when you do a bicep curl you work the muscle on the way up, but on the way down the muscle relaxes. In the water you work the biceps on the way up, and the triceps on the way down. It’s more bang for your buck – twice the work in half the time! Also, the resistance of the water is approximately 12x that of air so simply executing the exercise will require more energy and burn more calories than it would on land. All of these apply to any water workout – not just Aqua Zumba so even if you think this class isn’t for you, another water workout may still be right up your alley (deep water running for the runners, aqua k-box, there is even a new type of aqua spinning class out there!).
Are there some people who shouldn’t take Aqua Zumba?
As with any type of fitness class, there are those who are a higher risk and need to be more careful about what activities they partake in. In regards to Aqua Zumba, those with low blood pressure may find overdoing it in this or any other type of class can leave them light-headed, dizzy or nauseous. Just because you have low blood pressure doesn’t mean you can’t participate, it just means you should notify your instructor prior to class, and pay attention to any modifications they give you for your own safety. Also, those with cardiovascular problems, musculoskeletal disorders or hypertension should also consult their physician prior to starting any fitness program.
How does it compare to other water workouts?
I came into Aqua Zumba as a certified Aqua Fitness Instructor who had been already teaching water classes for a few years. Many people have the misconception that aqua fitness is an easy or “relaxing” type of class, certainly it can be, but I was used to teaching a fairly difficult type of aqua class. The participants I see each week were used to being given a real workout, and really want to be “killed.” Therefore, they are used to classes where they are pushed to muscle fatigue on different body parts throughout the entire class, have their aerobic and anaerobic capacities challenged and leave feeling like they’ve had a really good workout. Aqua Zumba, while it is definitely a workout, and it is loads of fun, simply isn’t as much of a workout as my participants are used to. I’ve “Suzi-ed” it up to make it a bit more challenging for them but by doing so my class has lost some of the “spice” normally associated with Zumba classes.
I really think that had I started out with a group of participants new to aqua fitness, or a group that wasn’t so used to being given really challenging workouts they would enjoy it more than they do. There are those that really seem to enjoy it, but the program has not been as popular at my location as expected I think because of that.
Again, personally I really enjoy the class, it is lots of fun, some of the moves are very challenging and you certainly get a workout but if you are looking to seriously get your booty kicked in the water this may not be the workout for you. If , on the other hand, you are just looking for a fun way to get some exercise, keep cool in the summer and enjoy a different form of Zumba you will probably love this class.
One last note…
I’ve preached this before and I’ll keep preaching it because I think it is so important for participants to know. In order to become a Zumba instructor you do no have have to be a fitness instructor, dance instructor or any other type of fitness professional. You go, take the workshop and leave with your license. The only prerequisite to becoming an Aqua Zumba instructor is that you are already a regular Zumba instructor. While I know there are lots of awesome Zumba and Aqua Zumba instructors out there who don’t have a group fitness or aqua fitness certification (and of course a few that do have the certifications and are still not so great), I personally think it is really important that you know what type of background your instructor has, what are their credentials (if any) and how experienced are they? Remember, while you always have the option to opt out of any move presented to you during a fitness class, generally we expect the instructor to only be presenting safe material in class to begin with. But are they? Do you know what moves are safe and which are not? Does your instructor? Please, take the time to find out a little bit about your instructor, if they are a professional they will be happy to tell you about themselves. Remember we all have to start somewhere so just because they are new doesn’t mean they are unsafe, but if they aren’t willing to share their background with you at all (new instructor or not), maybe they aren’t the right instructor for you…
Have you ever tried Aqua Zumba? If you did what did you think? If not, is it something you might be interested in?