The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Get under water to fight bulge blues

Low impact, high intensity is the workout catch-phrase of the hour. High-impact workouts, bad for the joints, are out. And making an appearance on the city fitness circuit is aqua-aerobics.

If you like swimming, you’ll love this underwater workout technique, ideal for the elderly or those with physical problems. It has recently been started at Solace, a spa in Sunny Park.

The daily classes have seen a handful of women, all over 65 years, sign up for the morning session. Younger members come by for classes later in the day, which are higher in intensity. To train trainers, and take classes with members, the health club has signed up with a Mumbai-based Reebok certified health expert, Deepali Jain, who has been very encouraged by the growing response to aqua-aerobics.

The water is supposed to support over 50 per cent of body weight, while some workouts — like underwater cycling – provide, reportedly, over 12 times the amount of resistance as air. The result: A strenuous workout with minimum wear and tear on the body, making it ideal for those with bone injury or other medical complications.

The club has special water weights, including dumbbells and a long, thin piece of equipment appropriately called the noodle, featherweight above water. But when confronted by the resistance of water, they seem heavy.

“Working out is no longer a luxury in today’s world. It is like going to the bathroom,” stresses Mumbai-based Jain, who will be paying regular visits to the spa. “Everyone needs proper fitness training, and aqua-aerobics is a great option. Age is no bar, though we do have to do a medical check to ensure the clients can deal with it,” adds Jain, who had a “packed schedule” over her weekend visit. She has even introduced clients who have undergone “major spine surgery” to this form of exercise. Leg kicks, cycling, jogging are all done suspended in the pool. “Most people I have been training here do not even know how to swim,” smiles Jain. Contraptions like the noodle, made of a specially-designed foam, keep them all afloat.

Jain, who has also been booked for private workout consultations, found the awareness levels about the proper workout techniques very low in Calcutta. “Most people come wanting to lose a fixed amount of weight right before a big event,” she says. “This just does not work.” Add to this the lack of awareness about proper workout postures, bad body alignment and low water consumption, and those trying to keep in shape could end up seriously hurt instead.

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