Have you ever considered running in a swimming pool? For most people a pool is for relaxing in or gathering around during a summer barbeque. Yet for those who like to be active, the pool is also a place where they do laps to get in some cardio. What most people may be unaware of is that pool workouts are not simply limited to just swimming. You can use the water to do other cardio exercises such as jumping jacks, walking, frog jumps or even strength training exercises like crunches, triceps dips, wall sit chest press, and much more. In today’s article we are going to look at aqua jogging workouts for runners. If you have recently started incorporating running into your routine, are a seasoned runner looking for some variety or are currently training for a long distance running competition, then this article is for you. Keep reading to find out how aqua jogging workouts can benefit you and possibly make you able to run faster.
What Are Aqua Jogging Workouts?
Simply known as aqua jogging or deep water running by some, it is a form of water aerobics that mimics the running motion while in water. This cardiovascular activity is often used as a cross training or rehabilitation exercise by many athletes but especially runners.
In case you are unaware of it, cross training is a high or low intensity exercise that compliments your main sport/workout. The reason why athletes – and others – are encouraged to include these exercises in their routine is that
- It breaks up what is most likely to be a monotonous workout schedule
- The workouts in question often use different modes of training to help improve a specific component of fitness.
Put simply, cross training is simply mixing up your regular workout routine with different but related exercises. This is said to help work more muscle groups – especially those rarely used in your main routine/sport, improve agility, boost cardiovascular health, reduce boredom, and it also allows you to engage in a variety of recreational sports.
According to Runners World, other forms of cross training workouts that are fantastic for habitual runners include swimming, barre, roller blading, yoga, tennis, skiing, or even simply walking your dog (5).
What Are The Benefits Of Aqua Jogging Workouts For Runners?
As seen above, aqua jogging is a great option for cross training. But why should you choose this over other forms of exercises available? Here is why you should consider deep water running as your first choice of a non-running workout
It Is A Low Impact Workout
One of the reasons why good shoes are among the most important running/walking/hiking equipment is because they protect our feet and joints from the forceful impact used while running. Without proper padding your feet would be killing you every time you go out for a run.
This hard impact is made even worse because of the type of surfaces that most of us run on. Most of us run on either concrete, asphalt, or treadmill which while common surfaces to run on, are unfortunately not necessarily the best and lead to a lot of injury. The best surfaces include either grassy areas like parks or a football pitch, woodland trails or generally anywhere with earth (6).
Aqua jogging exercises, like all other pool workouts, have less impact on your legs and joints as not only are you essentially floating and do not have to land on a hard surface as you run, but you also only use the waters’ resistance to propel you.
It’s A Great Rehabilitation Option For Injured Athletes
Running, while the most common form of exercise, also has its own share of injury risk that range from, runner’s knee, tendonitis, shin splints, stress fractures and more. As seen above, this type of workout is very low impact and thus anyone recovering from any of the above injuries can still exercise without the risk of injuring themselves further.
In fact a study published in 2012 supported this theory by stating that how the body reacts while deep water running is incredibly close to how it reacts while running on the treadmill. The psychological comfort, perception of work, muscular recruitment patterns, and running kinematics as well as the technique are all almost the same, thus aqua jogging is a great way to maintain fitness while recovering (2).
It Can Help Improve Your Running Technique
This is perhaps the most important reason why aqua jogging workouts for runners are best when compared to other cross training exercises. This exercise mimics running and it can help improve your running form with less impact on your knees and ankles. Proper running form makes your workout more efficient and prevents you from injuring yourself as you exercise (4).
Adds A From Of Resistance Training To Running
As we all know, running is a form of cardio and not strength training, however, adding water to this workout adds resistance to the activity. According to Healthline, movement in water has 12 times the resistance of air, and thus the vertical movement of aqua jogging workouts are four times as hard as horizontal positions like swimming.
Modifies Running For Colder Temperatures
For those who live in parts of the world that experience all four seasons, you know how dangerous running can be in the winter due to dropping temperatures, reduced visibility, and frozen roads. Aqua jogging is an indoor activity which automatically takes the danger away from frozen roads and reduced visibility. Pools can also be heated which removes the danger of terrible temperatures.
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Which Are The Hardest Aqua Jogging Workouts For Runners?
If you have been deep water running for a while and would like to increase the resistance, here are something that you can do to make your workouts more challenging
- Use a bungee cord – Tie one end of the cord to something sturdy outside the pool and the other around your waist. Get inside the pool and walk away from the sturdy object seeing how far you can run and stretch the cord in question.
- Run in intervals – On land, this is done by sprinting, jogging, walking, and sprinting again. Try the same in water. Not only does sprinting require more energy from you, but it also targets different muscles in your body.
- Incorporate different types of runs – Interval runs aren’t the only types of runs available. Others you can incorporate to your aqua jogging workouts include tempo, long distance and fartlek runs.
- Ankle weights – To add more resistance
Is Aqua Jogging Good For Weight Loss?
Yes, it is. As previously stated, water exercises offer up to 12 times the resistance given by air. The more resistance applied to an exercise, the more energy used to complete it and thus the more calories burned during and after the workout.
In fact studies have shown that this workout is great for weight and fat loss:
- In 2006 the Journal of Obesity published an article showing how this workout can be effective to reduce obesity. The study was conducted in obese 15 women who were required to a bi-weekly aqua jogging program for 6 weeks. At the end of the experiment, researchers found that the women had not only lost 1.4 kilograms of fat mass, but their waistlines had also decreased by 3.1 cm and their endurance had increased – they could walk 41 more meters than their initial distance (3).
- In 2018, another study was done comparing the effects of aqua zumba and aqua jogging in sedentary middle aged obese women. The 60 women were divided into 3 groups – aqua zumba, aqua jogging, and control – and the study took 12 weeks.
At the end of the study, researchers found that while the aqua zumba group lost more weight than the two other groups, the aqua jogging women still lost weight and abdominal fat, had significant improvements in their upper and lower body strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, and much more, especially compared to the control group (1).
How Do You Properly Do Aqua Jogging?
The main equipment you need for this workout are a pool and some floaters. Some people also opt for an aqua jogging belt. Some other details you need to properly figure this activity out include
- Posture – Keep your back straight, shoulders back, core engaged, and chin up with your eyes looking straight up.
- Leg movements – Lift your knees as high as you can – as though you were doing some high knees. This helps add resistance to your workout. As you lift one knee up, be sure to drive the other one down.
- Arm movements – Pull the elbows straight back and keep them bent at a 90 degree angle. Do not let your shoulders wobble and also pull your arms back.
Ensure that you keep looking straight ahead, keep the chest erect and the shoulders relaxed and down.
How Often Should I Aqua Jog?
This is a workout like any other so do it as often as you can while remembering to factor in other workouts – if deep water running is a cross training workout to you – and rest days so you don’t overwork yourself and your muscles.
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The Bottom Line: Is Aqua Jogging A Good Workout?
Yes, it is. As we have seen above, aqua jogging workouts are fantastic for weight loss, low impact and thus can be used by injured people and those with bad knees, it’s a great way to break up a monotonous workout routine, and works great to improve running technique and speed.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Aqua Zumba versus Aqua Jogging: Comparative effects on health parameters among obese middle age women (2018, researchgate.net)
- Deep-water running: a practical review of the literature with an emphasis on biomechanics (2012, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of Aquajogging in Obese Adults: A Pilot Study (2009, hindawi.com)
- Running technique: why form matters (2014, theguardian.com)
- What Is Cross-Training and What Are the Best Activities to Try? (2021, runnersworld.com)
- What is the best surface to run on to avoid getting injured? (2015, runnersworld.com)