Have you ever suffered from a running injury that has prevented you from getting out on the road or trail for a few weeks?
There are few things more frustrating than having to stop doing a sport you love while you wait for injuries to heal.
But wait! Aqua jogging could become your new favorite activity.
It’s low-impact, fun, and mimics the mechanics of running so closely that you’ll actually be strengthening your running muscles while you recover.
We’ll explain what it is, how to aqua jog, and some tips and techniques for pool running the right way.
What is Aqua Jogging?
Aqua jogging is a type of exercise that involves running in water. It may sound strange, but you’d be surprised at how effective this exercise can be for both the cardiovascular system and your muscles!
You can do a form of aqua jogging in a pool that’s shallow enough for you to stand in. But for it to be the real deal, you’ll need to be in water that’s deep enough so that your feet don’t touch the bottom.
True aqua jogging is low-impact and doesn’t involve pushing or any sort of impact. The only resistance you’ll have is that of the water against you!
You’ll wear a flotation device so that you can keep your head above water and focus completely on working your muscles.
Then, you just run! Aqua jogging is extremely similar to running on the road or trail. You move the same way, use the same muscles, and it’s a superb way of staying running fit while injured.
Reasons to Aqua Jog
Apart from it being a fun and challenging activity, aqua jogging has some specific benefits when used as part of a fitness routine.
Recovering from injury doesn’t have to mean sitting at home with no physical exercise for weeks. Aqua jogging presents an easy and enjoyable way to get a good workout without aggravating existing injuries.
There’s no physical contact with anything except water, so there’ll be no pressure on sore spots. If you only have a shallow pool to aqua jog in, the impact of your feet on the bottom of the pool is still less than it would be on the road or pavement.
For Low-Impact Exercise
The low-impact nature of aqua jogging makes it ideal for older folks suffering from arthritis and those with joint problems and pain.
It’s also an excellent form of exercise for people looking to shed some extra pounds without placing extra strain on the joints.
When submerged in water up to the neck, as you would be with aqua jogging, your body weight is reduced by a massive 90%! This makes it ideal for heavier people looking to begin exercising or those who suffer from chronic pain.
Maintain Running Fitness
It’s also an excellent way for runners to cross-train. Other forms of cross-training have the potential to lead to injury, as they place pressure on the joints.
Aqua jogging is almost guaranteed to be injury-free, and it works the same muscles as running does. In fact, aqua jogging is similar to running against the wind – it presents resistance but in a safe way.
If you’re looking for the most effective form of cross-training to boost your running, aqua jogging is high on the list!
When Should You Avoid Aqua Jogging?
Aqua jogging is one of the safest forms of exercise you can do. There’s only one case in which aqua jogging may cause more pain, and that’s if you have a hip flexor injury. The added resistance of the water can aggravate the hip flexor as you move your leg.
Pregnant women should double-check with their doctor before beginning pool running, although it’s a safer option than many other forms of exercise.
Obviously, although you’re wearing a flotation device, it’s a good idea to be able to swim before trying aqua jogging! Other than that, aqua jogging is great exercise for just about anyone.
How to Start Aqua Jogging
What You Need
It’s easy to start aqua jogging! The first thing you need is an appropriate body of water. The best type of pool in which your feet don’t touch the bottom.
You will need to buy an aqua jogging belt, which is a flotation device that will keep your head above water while you jog. If you like, a pair of waterproof mp3 players and earbuds can help you stay entertained and motivated while you’re exercising.
Tips for Starting
Try to aqua jog for at least 30 minutes per workout. If you need to work up to 30 minutes, start with 10 minutes at a time until you feel you can move up to 15. Once 15 minutes feels too easy, move up to 20. Try to improve a little every week!
Doing an aqua jogging session 2 to 3 times a week in addition to your other forms of exercise is ideal.
Be aware that your heart rate tends to be harder to increase in water! This isn’t a bad thing; it’s just because your heart doesn’t need to pump as hard to circulate blood when your cells are submerged in water.
This means you need to up the intensity in order to get an effective workout.
Aqua Jogging Workout Ideas
1. Easy Pool Running
This is a light and relaxed workout that’s perfect for recovery days and warm-ups. There’s nothing complicated about an easy pool run – all you do is hop in and take a chilled aqua jog around the pool for as long as you see fit.
If you have a fitness tracker or heart rate monitor, try to maintain a rate of around 70 to 75% of your maximum heart rate.
2. Medium Effort Workout
A pyramid-style workout is ideal for moving up a level without going all out yet.
Begin with 10 minutes of warming up. You can do this any way you wish, but some easy pool running is a good way to get yourself used to the temperature of the water and the feel of floating.
Once your warmup is done, you’re going to get into intervals. Structure them as follows:
- 1 minute hard intensity, 30 seconds rest
- 1 ½ minutes hard intensity, 30 seconds rest
- 2 minutes hard intensity, 30 seconds rest
- 2 ½ minutes hard intensity, 30 seconds rest
- 3 minutes hard intensity, 30 seconds rest
- 3 ½ minutes hard intensity, 30 seconds rest
- 4 minutes hard intensity, 30 seconds rest
- 4 ½ minutes hard intensity, 30 seconds rest
- 5 minutes hard intensity, 30 seconds rest
Then work your way back down, shortening each interval by 30 seconds. It’s important to note that “rest” doesn’t mean doing nothing! You should keep moving during your rest periods, but it should be easy pool running style.
Don’t forget to do a 10-minute cool-down at the end of your workout.
3. Hard Workout (advanced)
Once you’re an accomplished pool runner, you can try this intense workout if you want to push yourself!
It’s 75 minutes in total, with a full 30 minutes of hard pool running. You’ll get your heart pumping, your lungs burning, and your muscles aching!
- Do a 20-minute warm-up, increasing in intensity
- Repeat this interval 6 times: 2 ½ minutes hard intensity, 30 seconds rest
- Do an easy jog of 5 minutes to recover
- Repeat the above 6 intervals
- Do a 15-minute cool-down