Working out in the water
The 2018 Aquathon kicks off at an East London gym and at 256 venues in 80 countries
2018 Aquathon kicks off in EL gym and 256 venues in 80 other countries
No gain without pain was once the slogan embraced by those who sought to keep fit. But the way people exercise has evolved and East Londoners have embraced some of the more effective, less painful ways of working out.
And where better to burn those unwanted calories than in the water?
In today’s busy world, most people work long hours, run their households, and find little time or energy to exercise.
Aqua fitness junkies who spoke to the Daily Dispatch said they found it was easier to work out for a longer period of time in the water.
Aqua fitness founder, Rose Hartzenberg, from East London, is hosting a worldwide three-hour-long Aquathon (aqua fitness marathon) at Virgin Active gym this Saturday.
According to Hartzenberg, the 2018 Aquathon has grown by 40 venues and now involves 256 venues in 80 countries such as Italy, Israel, Portugal, Australia, Russia, Cyprus and New Zealand.
She explained the advantages of aqua fitness.
“Water supports the body, putting less stress on your joints and muscles and that support is great if you’re older and have suffered an injury or are recovering from illness.
“Plus the water pressure helps the heart move blood around the body, putting less strain on it,” said Hartzenberg.
She said the impact of gravity was less in water, allowing a greater range of motion.
This helped many of her students who were overweight or had a disability.
“Working out in water can also prevent overheating, helping you exercise for longer.
“Because of the buoyancy of water, you’ll be strengthening your muscles and improving your cardiovascular fitness without subjecting your body to additional wear and tear, leaving you feeling strong and refreshed.
“When I started Aquathon in 2009, I wanted to encourage more runners, cyclists, squash players, surfers, martial arts sports, golfers, etc to get involved in aqua fitness.
“I realised that so many people were unaware of the value aqua fitness has as a daily exercise or cross-trainer, so the Worldwide Aquathon Day was born in 2013.”
Hartzenberg said aqua fitness was suitable for all ages and even non-swimmers.
“Some of my students who were nonswimmers before joining our sessions have gained confidence in being in the water.
“And I decided to change how we call it aqua aerobics to aqua fitness because this sport is suitable for men as well.
“Most men thought that aerobics is only for women but that’s not the case,” she said.
Hartzenberg said her classes at a popular gym in East London had grown in size.
A real motivation for her was that there had also been an increase in people joining who needed the physical therapy due to having sustained injuries or illnesses, such as strokes.
“I have two amputees, one person who was paralysed in a car accident.
“Those people are able to perform the exercises in the water with their disabilities.
“Water also improves your cardio vascular fitness because standing on land, your blood is all pulled to your feet, in water, circulation starts straight away.
“This challenge [Aquathon] is not only for the fit and healthy. We make it nice and entertaining for everyone and there’s music too, so people will have a good time.”
One of her students, Zukiswa Maliti, said: “I had a phobia of swimming although I love water and aqua fitness has helped me learn to swim and to remain relaxed in the water.
“My skin is toned and more beautiful than it used to be. My abs, my arms, and my thighs are getting more exercise than they used to get on land,” said Maliti.
Another student, Xolisa Mgwatyu, who watches his weight carefully, said working out in the water was one of the most therapeutic activities possible.
“It has helped me build cardio, strength and resistance, while being easy on the joints and in a cool and relaxing atmosphere.
“Mostly, it has helped me to increase my flexibility as the body is subjected to water resistance during the exercises,” he said.
SHAPING LIVES: Aqua fitness founder and instructor Rose Hartzenberg has fun with a group at the end of a class.
HIGH RESISTANCE: The water exercises are not as easy as they look.
COOL ENVIRONMENT: Xolisa Mango Mgwatyu takes exercising seriously in order to stay healthy.