Aquatic Fitness Routine

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In order to achieve and maintain the benefits of exercise, an aquatic exercise program must follow the main principles of a workout. It should begin with warm-up stretches on the pool deck, followed by an in-pool aerobic warm-up session. Then the actual conditioning activity begins, consisting of 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous "aerobic" activity. A cool-down period in the pool can end the session, although a toning period is recommended following the cool-down. The following section discusses the aquatic fitness routine in detail. Warm-up Stretches It is very important to include proper warm-up routines before each day's activity. Physiologically, the muscles need to be warmed slowly through increased circulation, and the heart rate needs to be raised gradually. Psychologically, each participant needs to begin to think about the workout and perhaps set some personal goals for the day. Warm-ups are also an important safety precaution. Cold, tight muscles are inefficient for a good workout and may tear with sudden movements. A general idea to keep in mind while structuring a warm-up routine is to try to simulate the movements of the activity to be performed in the main body of the workout. The warm-up should simulate the workout movement but should be of a much lower intensity. Because of the nature of the exercises, they should be performed before entering the pool. A good warm-up should move quickly but thoroughly from the top of the body to the bottom of the body. In lap swimming and aerobic workout, special attention should be given to these areas: shoulder complex, obliques, abdominal, groin, hamstrings, quadriceps, gastrocnemius. Aerobic Warm-up Exercises Once the participants have entered the pool, they need to slowly raise their heart rates and get their body temperatures acclimated to that of the pool. Some fun activities for a good aerobic warm-up are to walk, jog, skip, or hop back and forth the width of the pool. As further variation, participants can do front kicks or skips and hops across the pool width. Finally, long strides, called skiing, can be used across the pool width. There are several fun games, such as musical kick-board, water basketball, and tug of war, that may be appropriate for your group as an aerobic warm-up. These games should be played for approximately 5 minutes as a warm-up activity. Conditioning Activities Circuit Training: Circuit training is a conditioning activity using stations. Different activities are designated for each station to provide a relief from the monotony of lap swimming.
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