Physical Training Apr 2003
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Aqua Training and Men: Fresh Perspectives

Copyright © Chet Skibinski 2003. All rights reserved.

Trinidadian racing goats, thoroughbred horses, racing dogs, NASA astronauts, and professional athletes – all have experienced the benefits of water for physical rehabilitation and training.  Water's buoyancy supports muscles and joints that land exercises could strain. Water’s resistance provides essential challenges that strengthen the entire system. Doctors routinely recommend aqua rehab for medical conditions: post-operative muscle toning, joint conditioning, osteoporosis, arthritis, and neuro-muscular disorders (Parkinson’s and others).  Physiotherapists and professional trainers find that non-medical conditions such as muscle and joint injury, obesity, and frailty respond well to aqua training. But aqua is not just for rehab.

More and more men are discovering aqua training.  Education and a more gender-neutral or male-specific program approach could convince men to drop some outdated myths.

The Myths

Changes have taken place in “The Liquid Gym”.  Aqua training is not necessarily group instruction, all doing the same movement, at the same tempo and intensity.  Instructors are not necessarily female. Participants are not necessarily frail senior females. Dance-like, choreographed moves are disappearing.  Workouts can be as intense as desired. Useful for rehab, aqua also delivers training benefits that all can believe!

Sil Valeriote, Aqua Instructor from Guelph, notes that males tend to focus on muscle strength more than endurance.  Amit Bidaye, physiotherapist and WaterART(tm) Master Trainer, adds that males often emphasize size, bulk, and definition at the expense of cardio and strength.

Traditional male prerequisites of obvious sweating, straining, muscle soreness, injuries, tedium, and tremendous self-discipline don’t necessarily address all the fitness goals of a  “good workout”.  Aqua training offers major benefits for the most demanding fitness buff – male or female.  Education is the key.

Benefits All Can Believe

Understand, Educate, Encourage Your Client

Katharine Brown-McLarty, Interim Fitness and Lifestyle Program Assistant at York, and WaterART(tm) Master Trainer suggests ideas that work with her clients – serious university male athletes.  Listen to the “motivational self-talk” going inside their heads:

Amit suggests concrete demonstrations of the effects of land vs. aqua training: In Summary

Professionalism dictates that we skillfully adapt programs and approaches to client needs. We empathize, gently educate, and encourage the client – male or female – towards a healthier self.

For further ideas about aqua training see:

Chet Skibinski M.Ed., STC
WaterART(tm) Instructor
Freelance Writer - Tech Writers “Adding Value to Your Enterprise”

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Physical Training Apr 2003