Aquajogging is a fantastic cross training exercise and it's especially beneficial for those athletes who're injured.
For runners and other athletes, it is extremely common to suffer from sports related injuries.
These can range from minor joint pains to serious muscle strains. The question is, how can you best recover from these sports injuries?
A potential and increasingly popular solution is a novel activity called aquajogging.
Aquajogging (also known as deep water running) involves running at a slow pace in a swimming pool without your feet touching the bottom of the pool. It is highly recommended for injured athletes as an excellent form of rehabilitation.
Aquajogging is essentially cross-training without any impact.
It is great at maintaining your fitness levels whilst also helping you recover from your injuries. It is also an activity that can be done as a preventative measure against future injuries.
The muscle usage and motions undertaken whilst deep water running are very similar to regular jogging and running, and, unlike elliptical training and cycling in the gym.
The cardiovascular demands on your body whilst deep water running are exactly what they would be if you were jogging or running at an average speed outdoors.
So if it’s too hot or humid to run outside, aquajogging is a great alternative to achieve the same results.
This is an activity that has rapidly increased in popularity over the last few years.
It is commonly undertaken by injured athletes to aid recovery suffering from common issues like plantar fasciitis or shin splints, but it is becoming more and more popular as a training activity for those who are not injured.
As it doesn’t provide any real strain to your joints unlike running on hard surfaces, it can be preferable as a way for you to improve running form and fitness levels.
For injured athletes, it can be a great way of remaining fit for the 4-6 week after the injury takes place and unlike other treatment options such as insoles and changing your shoes, there’s very little cost!
Water is more viscous than air, meaning that it is more resistant and therefore requires more strength to move in than on land. This is a positive for those who are looking to shed weight, as having to use an increased level of strength results in a higher amount of calories being burned versus running on land. It is, therefore, a great alternative for weight conscious injured athletes.
It is inadvisable to do aquajogging with specific injuries, such as injured hips or knees, or tense hip flexor. If you find yourself in pain whilst deep water running, then you must refrain from doing it at once and contact your doctor or physical therapist.
They will be able to advise you on what alternative activity you can use that provides similar benefits and is suitable for someone with your specific injuries.
In order to go deep water running, all you require is access to a swimming pool, a swimming costume and a flotation device, such as a vest or belt.
The AquaJogger is one of the most well-known and widely used flotation belts for aqua jogging. It is manufactured using EVA foam to ensure your body floats on the surface- it also has straps which you can use to fix it around your waist. There are several other brands which produce similar vests and bests that enable you to float whilst deep water running. Using these devices keeps you afloat whilst still allowing you to complete the motions required in the activity.
It is imperative that you have a suitable flotation belt or vest whilst aqua jogging. This is important as it maintains good running form through its usage. Without a device like this, running motions in water suffer as you have ensured that your knees are raised high to keep you afloat and repeatedly do quick stride turnovers.
Also, the lack of a floating device means having to take high knee strides whilst running. This is not the correct running form, and can also tire you out quickly as it requires much higher levels of energy.
With a flotation device, deep water running becomes more similar to cross -country running outdoors as it enables you to swing your legs back at wider angles and push your feet down.
We would therefore strongly advise that you invest in a floating vest or belt before you start deep water running.
Most people who have engaged in this activity grow to love it. Like any other sport or fitness activity it takes a while to get the hang of it, but after a few sessions, it is much easier.
As with other forms of exercise, it is important to warm-up before you begin. You can do this by starting to swim or move in the pool at a slow pace at least three minutes before starting. To start, move into deeper waters so that your feet are no longer touching the ground.
Begin by making running motions as you would outdoors or on treadmills – it is not exactly the same as outdoor running, however.
As you kick your legs back, you need not take large strides as you would whilst running on land. Your knees also need to be lifted slightly higher. This will result in a more effective workout as you’ll be able to run at a quicker pace in the pool, and also keeps you upright.
Since deep water running differs slightly from land running, here is some advice on how you can ensure that your workout is as effective as possible:
There’s a fantastic article over on swimming.org on what to expect during an aqua jogging class which is packed full of useful tips that can help banish some of those first time nerves.
Finally, it is important to cool down after you finish aqua jogging.
Once you have removed your floating device, resume swimming at a gentle pace for around 2-3 minutes.
Though aquajogging may initially be difficult for you, try not to give up. After the first few sessions, deep water running will come as naturally to you as running outdoors.