Understanding exercise safety is the most important reason to keep Certified and achieve a level of competency. The goal of our training programs is to help the instructor provide safe and appropriate exercise inventory for a diverse population currently attending water fitness programs. WaterART Fitness International feels that teaching water fitness is a unique job responsibility as compared to life guarding or land fitness programs. Certified For liability purposes, WaterART Instructors are required to complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years or complete another level of certification to stay abreast of safety and exercise techniques.
The Science Behind Exercise
To date, there are two main contributors to fitness injuries: overuse and impact. Overuse injuries occur over a period of time with repetitive activities. A lot of fitness injuries that may be avoided or decreased by learning and/or improving proper techniques and by evaluating exercise inventory terms of potential risks compared to benefits.
The key to recognizing and creating safe exercise lies in understanding biomechanics and teaching proper posture, alignment and exercise technique. Good alignment requires that all the major joints of the body (ankle, knees, hips and shoulders) are positioned over the other with the spine forming a natural – curve in between. As well as being aligned vertically the body should be aligned laterally, that is all joint pairs side by side. Posture is “learned” by individuals. If poor posture is practiced, certain muscle groups will lengthen and weaken while others will become tight. Corrective exercises involve strengthening elongated muscles and stretching tight muscles as well as re-educating proper posture. Some people are predisposed to postural deviations because of anatomical characteristics such as bowlegs or flat feet. These individuals need to pay special attention to body alignment and wear proper footwear to help support gait and alignment.
Exercises performed without proper alignment cause wear and tear on the joints as well as muscle imbalances. The body is able to compensate for small imperfections however when stressed by vigorous exercise, the system breaks down.
Guidelines For Good Posture
- Shoulders aligned over the hips
- Abdominals held tight (but breathe)
- Spine should remain in the natural shape or alignment
- Extended, Elongated spine
- Relaxed, level shoulders
- Hip, knee and toes aligned facing forward
- Understanding High Risk Exercises
WaterART Fitness attempts to classify certain exercises and movements in terms of their potential risk. The goal of this is to enhance the safety and credibility for the fitness professional and longevity for the fitness industry. Although most instructors applaud this direction, others feel restricted and claim that their favorite exercises have been banned and that class content lacks sufficient challenge. Still others feel frustrated and confused, wondering what will be the next exercises added to the high risk list and if it will be an exercise that they are currently teaching.
To unravel the mystery and frustration surrounding contraindicated/high risk exercises, it is necessary to understand why an exercise becomes contraindicated and/or for whom it is ill advised. Understanding joint action and biomechanical analysis provides the professional with a solid basis from which to evaluate conflicting movements, assess new exercises and devise appropriate modifications to meet the individuals needs. This evaluative approach based on the following key questions is a good approach to help you assess your exercise design.
Why Am I Doing This Exercise ????
Every exercise included in your fitness program should be there for a reason. Understand the purpose of the exercise i.e. cardiovascular, muscular endurance, muscular strength, range of motion, agility, flexibility and balance or simply fun. Understand what component of fitness you are training and how to optimize the training.