Aquasize to a healthier you

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - If your daily workout has you feeling burned out and you're ready to change things up while burning the calories, water aerobics is a great change of pace - especially in this summer heat.

After the birth of Ryan Hooks' second child, she was looking for a way to shape up without getting bored.  "I really needed to get the baby weight off," says Ryan, "and it was right at the time that water aerobics was starting, and everyone had given it rave reviews, so I said I'll try it and I have fallen in love!"

While Ryan tried traditional workout routines on and off for years, she says this is the first activity she has stuck to.  "It's fun.  We work out - you're not on a treadmill sweating. For me, that's miserable," says Ryan, "we're all having fun, laughing, cutting up with everyone in the class."

Julie Beard has been teaching water aerobics for two decades now. She says anyone from teens to seniors can benefit from these low impact, but highly effective exercises.  "If you do a lot of exercising on land," says Julie, "you know that the impact on the joints can be very cumbersome and water aerobics almost takes that out."

That's because in the water, you only need to support ten percent of your body weight. With less stress on your joints, your body can move for a longer amount of time without the strain.  "The body temperature doesn't rise as much, they don't sweat as much," says Julie, "you don't get the muscle soreness that you usually do and you get tightened, toned, burn more calories in the water."

Because of the water resistance, the calorie burning kicks into high gear.  "You can range anywhere from burning 300 calories to 700 calories, depending on your intensity," says Julie.

After one month of water aerobics, Ryan lost ten pounds.  "I don't know necessarily that I expected to see huge results," says Ryan, "but once I started seeing them, it was very motivating."

If you have access to a pool, there are some simple exercises you can do on your own to shape up this summer.  "Start with jumping jacks," says Julie, "then criss-crosses, snow skiing, deep water jogging, arm moves - there's just many different types of exercises that you can do without any form of equipment."

Julie says you can always add water gear - like a kick board or noodle to add an extra challenge to your water workout. Water aerobics is also great for people who don't feel comfortable working out in front of others.  Since you're chest-deep in water, there's some privacy in how you move and you can always work at your own pace.

*If you're interested in trying a water aerobics class, contact the Sports Club at Graywood at 477-1114.

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