Aqua jogging is a wonderful non-impact workout that can be used either as cross-training or during injury recovery. Every runner should consider taking an aqua jogging or water walking class.
Some people picture old ladies moving slowly through the water and assume it can’t be much of a workout, but this ain’t granny’s water aerobics! Aqua jogging workout is the real deal!
✓ Water is denser so you work harder
✓ Prevents repetitive injuries
✓ Additional calorie burn is experienced
✓ Pressure helps get your blood pumping
✓ Less stress on joints
✓ Good for injury rehabilitation
✓ Excellent for recovery days
✓ Fun warm weather cross-training experience
✓ Social experience! You can talk to your training partner!
Ease Into It
Some athletes find it advantageous to start with water walking. It makes sense, really. You need to walk before you can run. Once you get used to the aquatics facility, gear, and feel of the water, the transition to aqua jogging workouts will be as easy as one, two, three!
Low impact cardio, walking in the water is less stressful on your body. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you aren’t getting a workout during this activity. Those participating in water walking can get their heart rate elevated more than walking on land!
Shallow Water Walking and Running
In shallow water walking, your head is above the water. Typically, people will choose water between waist and chest deep, if intending to keep their head above the water without wearing a belt.
For water walking, when your feet can touch the ground, you do not require additional materials. However, for safety, it is a good idea to wear water shoes. Know that the deeper the water, the greater the challenge.
From this type of walking, you can easily transition to running.
Logistics of Deep Water Walking
When water walking, you want to focus on good posture and keeping your core engaged. Your back should be straight and your shoulders back. Chin up and focused to get the most out of this workout!
Just walk through the water. As you do that, you might try special webbed gloves. These gloves offer resistance as you pull your hands through the water.
- Aqua Belt: A water belt will help you stay afloat while in the water. Wearing the belt helps you keep the proper posture while staying afloat.
- Resistance Gloves: Webbed gloves to help create resistance through the water.
- Water Weights: These are small, buoyant that can be used for further resistance.
Deep Water Jogging
Deepwater running is an excellent alternative to pounding the pavement while running on the road. It’s a perfect workout for cross-training, and a nice break from the heat during the summer months; it’s a wonderful non-impact option if you are suffering injury or just need a break.
Most aqua runners wear an aqua floatation belt to help with buoyancy. This helps the runner to stay afloat and also maintain proper form. If you are struggling to keep yourself above water, it’s difficult to maintain true running form.
It’s pretty simple, really. You just move your arms and legs like you are running through the water. The belt holds you afloat and your arm and leg motion will propel you forward.
The one difference is you will want a slightly exaggerated high knee kick up and also an exaggerated follow-through while aqua jogging. This gives you the full range of motion with maximum benefits. Every movement of your arms and legs through the water, your extremities experience the resistance. which means you are working harder.
Designing a Workout
As with any workout, it is important to warm up and cool down. Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that a cool down is only important if you feel hot. Please note that you sweat even in water, you just may not realize it.
It is equally important to stay hydrated while working out in the water, another thing novices to aquatics tend to overlook. Don’t make that mistake. When you work out in the pool, have a water bottle on the pool deck!
Warming up to aqua jog could involve some water walking or even gentle swimming. You might grab the side of the pool, floating on your stomach, and do some “frog kick” leg warm-ups, or flutter kick warmups. You could also do gentle stretching in the shallow part of the pool.
Once warmed up, you can begin your workout. Certainly, you could pick a designated amount of time to aqua jog, choose a pace or perceived effort, and just get to work. If you find yourself easily bored, the pool is an excellent place to do intervals. Just like you may do intervals in running, they can also be done in the pool.
One of my favorite pool workouts involves aqua jogging and sprinting in an off and on effort: 90 seconds of jogging or easy effort by 45 seconds of hard effort is sure to get your heart pumping. You can take any land workout and convert it to fit the water!
Another way to work out in the water is by using a heart rate monitor. If you think zone training, you can warm up in zone one and two, complete the majority of your workout in zone three, and do your hard intervals in zone four with some moments in five. This can give you a quality HIIT (High-intensity interval training) workout. All you need is some type of waterproof heart rate monitor!
It is equally important to cool down post-workout. If you have been deep water running, you could transition to jogging then walking. If using resistance weights, you could set them on the pool deck and remove the water gloves to subtract that resistance.
Gentle swimming is also an appropriate cool-down after completing a water running workout.
Other Ways to Enjoy the Pool
As long as you’re wet and in the pool, there are some other things you might find enjoyable while cross-training. Did you know that the breaststroke is 75% kick?
Even if you don’t like to put your face in the water, you can grab a kickboard and do breaststroke kick across the pool. This is a fabulous way to stretch out your legs.
Easy lap swimming is a wonderful way to stretch out the muscles. If you are planning to lap swim, you want to invest in a quality swim cap. Besides, you never know… this cross-training could awaken the triathlon bug; next thing you know, you’re buying goggles and flippers and a really expensive bike…but that’s another topic for another blog!
Many runners enjoy a non-impact exercise as recovery the day after the long run. No matter how you use the pool, it’s an excellent recovery tool.
Loren Eiseley said, “If there is magic on this earth it is contained in water.” Runners take heed. If your workout needs a little magic, just add water. Aqua jogging might be just what you need.