What’s Aqualates?

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Aqualates is a low-impact water aerobics workout based on Pilates principles, designed to strengthen the core muscles. It is ideal for those with injuries or limited mobility, pregnant women, and non-swimmers. Aqualates improves coordination, mobility, stability, endurance, and balance. Participants should consult their doctors and stay hydrated during the class.

Aqualates is a challenging water aerobics workout based on the same anatomical guidelines and principles as Pilates exercises. This workout was developed by Chimene Motiverno-Cole and Tori Brown, who wanted to create an easily modified, low impact aquatic exercise system. Sometimes called “water Pilates,” Aqualates was designed specifically to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles, also referred to as the body’s “core.” In addition to being an intense, calorie-burning workout, Aqualates improve coordination, mobility, stability, endurance and balance.

Aqualates could be considered an ideal workout for those suffering from pelvic, back or other pain because the effects of gravity are significantly reduced in the water, resulting in low impact exercise. People recovering from surgery or injury often join Aqualates classes to rebuild their strength faster and more gently than they could by exercising on land. Aqualates is also ideal for elderly people with limited mobility.

Aqualates are becoming increasingly popular with pregnant women as a safe and enjoyable form of prenatal exercise. Because this type of training builds strength, endurance, and flexibility, it could help ease labor and delivery, and even speed up a woman’s recovery after giving birth. Participants in Aqualates are trained to control their breathing, which could also help ease the intensity of the labor.

Participants don’t have to be great swimmers to participate in an Aqualates class, although it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have basic swimming skills. Non-swimmers can still practice by doing simple underwater leg movements and leg lifts and walking around the shallow end of the pool like a ballerina. Other moves involve holding on to flotation devices like a beach ball or a thick plastic noodle while performing basic squats and lunges. More advanced Aqualates participants can tone up their biceps, triceps and shoulders using special boxing gloves or aquabells, which are dumbbells specially made for exercising in water.

Aqualates instructors present all exercises in terms of anatomical function, which causes participants to establish a “mind-body connection” and move more efficiently. Participants learn muscle awareness and control while the cooling effect of the water on the body makes the exercises seem less strenuous.

While Aqualates certainly sounds more fun than sweating it out on a treadmill, it’s important for people to consult their doctors before participating in any type of exercise program. It’s also important to remember to drink plenty of fluids during an Aqualates class, as being in the pool can actually increase the chance of dehydration.

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