We all know that swimming is a great, low-impact, full-body workout. But it’s not the only way to get in shape in the water. Over the last few years, traditional strength training, cardio workouts, and even yoga have taken to the water to deliver a form of exercise that is easy on the joints and effective at toning and strengthening the muscles. Sure, there’s water aerobics. But there are also a handful of other fitness styles that have taken the plunge into the pool, creating an entirely new experience for some of your favorite group exercises classes.
Here’s an introduction to five popular group fitness classes that you wouldn’t expect to take place in a pool:
Aqua Zumba adds a fun challenge to one of the most popular group exercise classes in the world. The concept and moves are the same as in a traditional Zumba class, but the extra resistance created by pushing against the water adds a great strength-training element to the workout. The class is held in shallow water (about chest height for the average participant) and the instructor is positioned near the ledge of the pool (so that everyone can see her movements and follow instruction). Aqua Zumba is described as a fun pool party- where you don’t even realize that you get a great workout.
A new study conducted by the Oregon Research Institute suggests that the practice of Tai Chi may provide a number of different benefits to patients suffering from mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease. The four-year study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and followed 195 patients who participated in different forms of low-impact exercise.
Participants in the study were randomly assigned to groups that did stretching, resistance training or Tai Chi. Participants did 60 minutes of exercise two times per week over. People in the group that practiced Tai Chi were less likely to experience falls, and also performed better in tests that measured balance and directional control of the body. Members of the Tai Chi group were also able to walk with a longer stride.
In addition to being a low-impact form of exercise, the study showed that Tai Chi can help improve mobility, flexibility and balance, thus easing the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Exercise is an important part of treating the disease because previous research has shown that physical activity can slow the progress of symptoms.
As part of the Soul Power Series, a new release by New York Times Bestselling author Dr. and Master Zhi Gang Sha, “Tao Song and Tao Dance” hit stores today and offers a continued study of Dr. Sha’s extraordinary healing techniques and concepts.
Dr. Sha is a conventional medical doctor as well as a doctor of Chinese medicine. Demonstrating his humanitarian efforts, for which he was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission, Dr. Sha founded the Institute of Soul Healing and Enlightenment and the Love Peace Harmony Movement. He is also a master of Eastern disciplines such as tai chi, qigong, feng shui and kung fu. Named Qigong Master of the Year at the Fifth World Congress on Qigong, Dr. Sha’s Soul Power Series reveal his secrets, wisdom, knowledge and practical techniques to transform every aspect of life. As a soul leader, healer and divine servant, Dr. Sha claims that we should “Heal and transform the soul first; then healing and transformation of every aspect of life will follow.” (more…)
Fibromyalgia can be a debilitating chronic health condition that affects an estimated 15 million Americans, the majority of which are women. Now, new research shows that yoga may offer relief to the muscle soreness and tenderness associated with this autoimmune disorder.
In a recent study of more than 50 women conducted at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, those who participated in a two-hour yoga session once a week reported improvements in both physical and psychological aspects of fibromyalgia, including decreased pain, fatigue, tenderness, anxiety and better sleep and mood. (more…)