Health & Fitness

By Alexis Lardieri

Photo Credit: H2oaudio.com

Now that summer is finally starting to peak its head and show its true colors, you may be tempted to blow off the gym for a relaxing day at the pool. Well, who says you have to choose one or the other? Why not get the best of both worlds–a tan and a sick body to show it off? With Water Zumba, you really can have it all! This month, BN has teamed up with renowned trainer, Aimee Hoff to introduce this groundbreaking poolside calorie burner. Read on as Aimee gives us the ins and outs of this Latin inspired workout. To top it off, BN has included some fun and easy workouts you can incorporate into your next poolside excursion!

New York Sports Club Master Certified Trainer, voted Best Personal Trainer twice by Allure Magazine

BN: Were does Zumba originate from?
AH: Zumba originated in Columbia (South America) in the mid 1990’s by an aerobic instructor, who one day had forgotten his aerobics music. He used the only music he had from his personal collection, a compilation of traditional Latin salsa and meringue music. It was tough, but he improvised the entire class using his music and creating moves to match – thus a revolutionary fitness program was born!

BN: Most people view Zumba as a form of dance, rather than a form of cardio. What are your thoughts?
AH: A Zumba workout combines body sculpting movements with dance steps (derived from meringue, salsa, hip hop, mambo, rumba, and flamenco.) The routines feature aerobic intervals with a combination of fast and slow rhythms. Because every class is unique to its instructor, the moves can be modified for dancers and non-dancers alike – all receiving the same cardio benefits, not to mention having a blast while doing it!

BN: Which areas of the body does Zumba target the most?
AH: Zumba targets the entire body! In one class, you will be moving, sculpting, toning and grooving in every way possible. The music, dance moves, and toning exercises will work your arms, legs, butt, heart and most importantly for us women, your inner core. Your heart will be working hard, allowing you to burn calories and body fat, while at the same time your muscles are being toned and sculpted.

BN: What are the benefits of doing Zumba in the water vs. a regular classroom?
AH: Both, Zumba in the water and in a classroom, are exceptional workouts; but in the water your body moves slower, and so water zumba will challenge your body to work harder. You will feel more of a toning component in the water and more of a cardio workout on land.

BN: Do water exercises provide a large amount of resistance because you’re basically going against your own bodyweight?
AH: Any time your workout is in water, the resistance is increased. Water can be up to 1000 times denser than air, therefore adding a great deal of resistance. Add a paddle on your hands while working out and it is increased even more. Aquatic workouts are also ideal for people who prefer lighter impact on their joints. The water allows for smooth easy moves without added force.

Aside form Zumba, BN has teamed up with Aimee Hoff and LA Fitness to put together some quick and easy poolside workouts you can try at home. Here’s what we came up with:

Poolside Bridge:
Working on your tan? Sculpt your glutes at the same time! While lying on your back, bend your knees with your feet flat, hip-width apart. Squeeze your glutes and lift hips up off your towel. Hold bridge for 30 seconds. (Or long enough to reapply suntan lotion to your lower back).

Beach Ball Abs:
The perfect equipment for your poolside workout – a beach ball! (You can also use a Pilates ball – works just as well) Begin a reverse crunch by placing the ball under your bent knees and reach arms down by sides (palms face down on towel). Exhale and draw your knees towards your chest, lifting your hips up off the towel. Slowly lower back to starting position. Work up to doing 25 reverse crunches.

Leg Lifts:
While sunning yourself poolside, try alternating leg lifts. Hold each leg up for about ten seconds to tone your thighs and lower abs.

Diving Board Pull-ups:
If your pool comes equipped with a diving board, grab the edge of the board as if it were a pull-up bar. Pull yourself up and hold for about five seconds before lowering yourself back to starting position. Work up to doing 25 pull-ups.

Surfing Pop-ups:
(Note: this should be done on the grass or a softer surface) Get into push-up position on your towel, with hands a little wider than shoulder width apart (on your toes and abs tight), perform a push-up. At the top of the exercise, jump as if standing on a surfboard. Hold for two seconds and then jump back down to push-up position. Not easy, but try to work up to 15.

Poolside Dips:
Use the steps of the pool to do tricep dips for a fun and easy way to tone your arms. Sit on the edge of the step in the shallow end of the pool and proceed to lower yourself down. Once your face touches the water, slowly rise up to starting position. Repeat for ten counts.

Originally published July 2009
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