Work­ing out in the water

The 2018 Aquathon kicks off at an East Lon­don gym and at 256 venues in 80 coun­tries

Daily Dispatch - - Front Page - MFUNDO PILISO mfun­dop@dis­patch.co.za

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.

Pic­tures: ALAN EASON

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.

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