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In order to achieve and maintain the benefits of exercise an aquatic exercise program must follow the main principles of a workout It should begin with warm-up stretches on the pool deck followed by an in-pool aerobic warm-up session Then the actual conditioning activity begins consisting of 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity A cool-down period in the pool can end the session although a toning period is recommended following the cool-down The following section discusses the aquatic fitness routine in detail Warm-up Stretches It is very important to include proper warm-up routines before each days activity Physiologically the muscles need to be warmed slowly through increased circulation and the heart rate needs to be raised gradually Psychologically each participant needs to begin to think about the workout and perhaps set some personal goals for the day Warm-ups are also an important safety precaution Cold tight muscles are inefficient for a good workout and may tear with sudden movements A general idea to keep in mind while structuring a warm-up routine is to try to simulate the movements of the activity to be performed in the main body of the workout The warm-up should simulate the workout movement but should be of a much lower intensity Because of the nature of the exercises they should be performed before entering the pool A good warm-up should move quickly but thoroughly from the top of the body to the bottom of the body In lap swimming and aerobic workout special attention should be given to these areas shoulder complex obliques abdominal groin hamstrings quadriceps gastrocnemius Aerobic Warm-up Exercises Once the participants have entered the pool they need to slowly raise their heart rates and get their body temperatures acclimated to that of the pool Some fun activities for a good aerobic warm-up are to walk jog skip or hop back and forth the width of the pool As further variation participants
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