| NEW YORK, June 9
NEW YORK, June 9 While older, overweight or
injured exercisers have always valued the cushioning effects of
water workouts, a new wave of trendy, lively and high intensity
group fitness classes is luring the young, the hip and the
able-bodied into the pool.
Aqua Zumba, boot camp, and synchronized swimming are among
the classes experts say put every muscle through a range of
motion even the fittest can't approach on dry land.
Lori Rose Benson of the YMCA of Greater New York said
seniors populate daytime pool classes, but the evening attracts
a younger, party-oriented crowd.
Synchronized swimming, a class of elaborate strokes and
stunts set to music, has become a favorite among Brooklyn
hipsters, she said. Aqua Zumba, also called "pool party," is
popular with the younger crowd throughout the city.
"Really, it depends on the time of day," Benson said.
"Aquatic exercise can have all the benefits of a really tough
cardiovascular workout. It's what you put into it."
Three times a week at an Equinox fitness center in New York
City, swim coach Ellis Peters leads Aqua Boot Camp, an hour-long
interval workout he said takes aim at every major muscle group.
"I try to use every inch of the 25-yard (23-meter) pool,"
Peters said of the class, which employs flotation devices in a
fast-changing sequence of running, jumping jacks and core
"We usually don't do any one thing more than a minute," said
Moving through water is powerful, he added, because the
resistance, or drag coefficient, is 12 times what it is in air
and works on the body in all directions.
"I can't imagine a machine on land that would be able to
duplicate the omni-dimensional resistance of the water," he
said. "It doesn't exist."
Rhode Island-based Karen Kent said she plunged into pool
workouts after asthma began to hamper her running style.
"I couldn't run much in my 20s," said Kent, an aquatic
expert who wrote the water exercise chapter for the American
College of Sports Medicine's group fitness handbook.
She said even the most able-bodied like turning to water to
relieve pressure and extend their range of motion.
"Even really strong athletes want to come to water to
stretch muscles back out," she said. "Water offers another piece
of fitness you can't get on the ground."
The level of exertion feels less in the water, she added, so
the right instructor can really ramp it up with deep water
running and jogging intervals.
Kent said the pool temperature for water workouts should be
around 83 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (28 to 29 Celsius), with air
temperature about two degrees higher. That's because unlike
swimmers, who are comfortable in the high 70s (mid 20s), the
exercisers' heads are above the water line.
"Swimming laps is different from doing exercise," she said.
"Every workout has something else to offer and a well-rounded
athlete should do all of it."
(Editing by Patricia Reaney and Gunna Dickson)