I already love prenatal yoga, but for about three weeks now I’ve also been taking a weekly water aerobics class at the community center down the street. I had some trepidations at first, but this class is actually pretty awesome! Sure, I’m the youngest one there (by far!) and the music they play is atrocious (think The Macarena) but I love it more and more each time I go to a class.
I’m too cheap to buy a maternity swimsuit so I just wear my bikini. Some people look at me kind of funny – are they trying to answer the “fat vs. pregnant” question? I’m not really there to impress people so I’m okay with this.
Some of my favorite things about water aerobics:
- It’s so low-impact that I don’t feel like I’m doing much. I mean, I push myself, go at my top speed and flex my muscles to make sure I am getting something out of the whole thing, but when I get out of the pool I don’t feel exhausted or sore like I sometimes do when I get off the elliptical. It isn’t until I’m back home on the couch that I start to notice my muscles are a little tired.
- Water resistance is great – I can “turn up” the resistance by flexing my feet or moving my palms to push the water as I move. Or, I can lessen the resistance my moving my palms to cut straight through the water.
- It’s great for the core muscles because I have to fight to maintain control of my balance. It’s so easy to let my hips move from center because I can move with the water, but it is such a better workout to fight against the water to keep my core upright.
- Luckily I’m in the water so I can’t fall over! I can’t really hurt myself either, other than over-straining or something.
- I’m covered by water up to my neck, so I don’t at all feel self-conscious about my belly hanging out or my big ol’ boobies bouncing around!
- I like that I can work as hard as I feel like working and no ones knows either way. If I’m feeling pumped (which I have been so far!) I can crank up the intensity without alienating my neighbors. Or, if I’m feeling tired or slow, I can ease into it and once again, no one is the wiser.
- At first I had some leg cramps but only because I kept pointing my toes. Now I try to flex more at my ankles and I don’t have that problem anymore. But, if I do have a cramp, I can stop for a second and massage it out and no one really notices.
- Also, I sleep so great after being in the pool for an hour!
Plus, some things I learned about while I was reading about the benefits of water aerobics:
- Did you know that being in the pool for awhile actually reduces swelling? I heard this from my midwife too. Apparently the water pressure helps to push the excess water out of your body. Yet it somehow hydrates too – I know this because I pee a LOT after water aerobics. Like, once before I change, once after I change and a couple times in the 30 minutes after I return home. I do drink water during the class but not that much water. It’s weird.
- This NY Times article from 2008 describes a study (though a poorly-executed study, but a study nonetheless) which found that pregnant women who exercise using water aerobics are less likely to take pain medication during labor and delivery – 27% of women who exercise opted for drugs versus 66% in the non-exercising control group.
- This article from Women Fitness also outlines some great tips and reminders for water exercise.
I’m so glad I’ve finally started to shake up my routine with this class. I highly recommend it!