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Aquatic Fitness Interval Training

In the past, vertical aquatic fitness classes were structured (similar to land exercise) around a sustained, continuous cardiovascular or movement segments lasting for 15-30 minutes or more. Now, more current research indicates that this is not be the best system to train the human cardiovascular system for several reasons:

  • The heartís ability to return to a normal or the lowest resting heart rate after exercise is one of the best indications of improved fitness- in other words - the faster a person recovers from exercise the better. The recovery heart rate ( RHR) is best trained with intervals of increased intensity followed by bouts of recovery. Average resting heart rates are approximately 80 bpm (beats per minute) and if a participant works out at approximately 60-85% of their maximum heart rate (or potential) in the water the heart should be able to recover to a resting heart rate level within one minute of the intensity interval. Should RHR take more than 3 minutes then this is an indicator of poor CV fitness.

  • Muscles normally feel fatigue prior to any breathing overload in the water. In order to work at a high intensity for cardiovascular conditioning, participants need to utilize their muscles for maximal power, through an appropriate range of motion and travel the movement. If the muscles tire quickly then powerful and strong movement is impossible. Therefore, to achieve good cardio benefit, participants need more muscular strength when working in the water as compared to land exercise requirement. (On land typically breathing fatigues prior to the muscles when performing cardiovascular testing).

  • Adding segments of muscle work will keep the body warm and provide more total body balance. Intervals of muscular fitness and cardiovascular sets balance a workout to provide a more beneficial program. Many participants can do cardiovascular training on their own ( they can swim, run or walk in the water); however, they are typically not skilled on how to stretch and strengthen their muscles.


  • The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommendations for healthy adults for physical activity were updated in 2011. ACSM, recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (working hard enough to break a sweat, but still able to carry on a conversation) for at least five days per week, or 20 minutes of more vigorous activity three days per week. Combinations of moderate and vigorous intensity activity can be performed to meet this recommendation.

  • It has been documented that Abdominal Fat decreased and Body Weight improved with a combination of cardiovascular and resistance training. There is an improvement of the cardiovascular risk profile (decreased blood pressure) when scheduling regular moderate exercise training for people with NIDDM (non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus). (Diabetes Care 1997 Oct;20(10):1603-11.)


Added Benefits of Aquatic Interval Training:


  • Interval training adds variety and balance to any program. There are always so many exercises to add into any program that, during a regular workout, the instructor cannot possibly train every major muscle group. So selecting a few exercises to (really) master during each session will provide a sensible way to learn exercises AND benefit the body. Focusing on specific exercises helps to master the technique of water exercise. This method can help athletes who are not specifically water trained since they may require more time to learn and practice each exercise to benefit from cross training in the water.

  • Interval Training helps the body to expend more total calories.  In the water, total body exercises may be easily and conveniently combined. For example, cycling with a noodle with upright breaststroke targets the cardiovascular system  while working a specific muscle group as well as core training.  This complex exercising provides a good system to burn calories during exercise as well as increase lean muscle mass for increasing metabolic rate after the exercise.  The hi-lo intensity variance intervals help regulate insulin sensitivity which in turn facilitates glucose transport and metabolism, to reduce abdominal and visceral fat (the pancreas is challenged, then allowed to recover).

  • Equipment may be added with interval sets, especially for advanced muscle work. The wide variety of equipment available for use in vertical aquatic fitness training will increase, challenge and facilitate progressive overload. One point to realize is that equipment does not need to be utilized with every exercise. The upper body does not require overload during the entire session. This is key to maximizing the benefits of a total body workout. If the upper body is overused, often the legs decrease range of motion as arms are required to balance posture and assist travel. A noodle may become an aquatic bicycle and the arms can be left free and essentially rested ( unlike using dumbbells which require holding).

  • Intervals provide more duration for a workout. Changing from cardiovascular sets or segments to muscular focus will allow the body to recover and thereby allow the body to maximize for the total duration of the program. If a program is all CV training then often caloric output is decreased when the muscles tire.

  • An Interval Training program is especially beneficial for the more sedentary individual. The mixture of working hard then easier allows for more rest and recovery intervals than with regular programming. Water exercise allows every individual to work at a self paced intensity. Most "new to exercise" patrons donít know how to exercise sufficiently well to be able to perform as many repetitions as seasoned exercisers. This is why we often refer to water exercise as an equal opportunity sport.

  • If your clients are new to water exercise check out DVD078 -Entry Level Aquatic Fitness Programming for a Non Swimmer (2 DVDs).    


  • Download full PDF Article -What is Aquatic Interval Training

 

Types of Noodles


Educational Resources with Noodles:


    
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