When people are trying to stay fit or lose a few pounds, they often think about treadmills, bicycles, or the dreaded run on hot pavement. Most would never consider aqua jogging as an alternative exercise that can raise your heart rate, increase your endurance, and burn high sums of calories. When the weather gets a bit steamy, why not turn to the water to stay cool and burn as many calories as a long jog?
The many benefits of aqua running are no secret to professional athletes returning from injury. Their medical trainers know the value of these antigravity exercises on repairing worn muscles. The ability to maintain their fitness and build their endurance while injured is just a few of the reasons why the pros choose aqua jogging while on the mend.
What the research shows
The benefits of pool running have long been known to academic researchers. Investigators have shown that aqua jogging is one of the most effective types of cross training to keep your endurance up. Further, aqua running has been shown to be an effective recovery exercise to facilitate the repair of damaged muscles after hard workouts.
Researchers at Missouri State University, found that competitive runners had the same physical and metabolic benefit running in deep water as running on land. Following 4 weeks of aqua running, these runners maintained their 5-km run time, maintained their submaximal and maximal oxygen consumption, and also had the same cardiac health benefits.
If the above were not enough, aqua running burns as many calories as running on land. That’s right, there is similar caloric consumption occurring while jogging in your local pool than running on that hot pavement. Depending on the intensity, a person weighing 130 pounds burns on average 472 calories water jogging for one hour. At 155 pounds, the number of calories burned increases to about 563, and someone weighing 180 pounds can burn up to 654 calories. Of course, you can easily vary the intensity of your water training from a slow, easy stride to a high-intensity heart pumper.
The low-down on Aqua Jogging
As its name would suggest, aqua jogging (or pool running, deep water running, water jogging) involves running in the deep end of the pool. To maintain one’s buoyancy, a runner should start off wearing an exercise buoyancy belt. The pool running belt is helpful in the beginning, but once you get the form down, it’s not necessary.
The key to good aqua running form is to keep your upper body straight and to not lean too far forward. You should practice using a higher knee lift and a more compact back kick compared to running on dry land. This will allow you to remain upright and also enable you to perform harder sprinting activities down the road.
With your feet safely above the bottom of the pool, there is no gravity impact to your body. So, unlike running on the road, aqua jogging spares your knees and joints. Those who enjoy running in the shallower parts of the pool often prefer to run in water shoes. If you don’t already own a pair, check out our Viakix water shoes
Given the intense workout gained from deep water running, start off slow to get your barring. Cycle between 1 minute running and 30 seconds of rest. As you gradually increase your endurance, increase your run time while keeping your rest periods short. Once you begin mastering the correct form, you can also start adding in sprints to your work out. These water sprints will guarantee to get your heart rate up quickly and will get the calorie meter ticking.