(This post contains affiliate links.) Aqua Jogging in deep water is an extremely fast, effective yet low-impact way of getting into shape.
Let’s take a look at the benefits…
Whilst running is one of the best forms of cardio-vascular exercise, it is also one of the primary contributors to lower body injuries. Running on land is high-impact – each time a runner’s foot strikes the ground, a shock equivalent to three times his or her body weight reverberates from the feet, through the legs and into the spine. However, when you are submerged up to your neck in water your body only weighs about 10% of its land weight.
The other key benefit is water resistance. Studies have shown that water is 800 times denser than air and provides up to 12 times the resistance, meaning that you work harder and expend more energy when running in the pool. While regular runners burn about 8 calories a minute, aqua joggers use up 11.5!
Aqua jogging also boosts aerobic capacity. Since water lacks the gravitational pull of land, you use opposing muscles for every action, resulting in greater muscle definition and all-round strength.
Being up to your neck in water also produces physiological changes in your body that help remove metabolic waste, improve cardiac function, lower blood pressure and assist the body in tissue healing.
So, how do you do it?
You’ll need a buoyancy belt!
Wearing a buoyancy belt will keep you upright and enable you to run with your head comfortably out of water and breathe normally.
I prefer buoyancy belts that have a similar depth all the way round as opposed to those which are deeper at the back. This is because the extra foam behind the body tends to tip you forwards and, whilst it can be argued that this forces us to work our core harder in order to maintain an upright position, in my experience it simply encourages poor form, especially with fatigue.
It is important to fasten your buoyancy belt around your waist – not your hips – and you should fasten it tightly enough that it does not ride up.
My favourite buoyancy belt is the WaterGym Float Belt.
The WaterGym Float Belt is a great quality product and is super comfortable to wear too. The smooth foam feels soft and silky against the skin and the ergonomic tapered design prevents any bruising, pinching or chafing.
It also doesn’t tip you forward, keeping you balanced in the water. This is a must for aqua jogging, but also makes it ideal for use in aqua aerobics classes and for other exercises in deep water.