Fun & Functional Water Exercise

Thursday, August 15 2019

Discover a new slant on water exercise with a pool workout that features lots of angles, diagonals, spirals and circles.  Join aqua expert, Terri Mitchell and rock around the clock with arm and leg movements performed with clock face cues.  Designed to improve joint mobility, the ultimate goal of this  fun and functional pool workout is to help people move better and live better.

Known for her Aqualogical series of aquatic fitness programming, Texas Terri is also recognized for transforming aqua moves with a more functional approach to movement design.  As an aquatic therapy assistant, Terri has spent years analyzing movement in the pool and developing corrective exercise strategies.  Traditional aquatic fitness base moves, such as jumping jacks and cross-country skis, are typically taught in a one-dimensional movement plane. Important to the study of exercise physiology, there are three recognized one-dimensional movement planes. The frontal plane represents side to side movement, such as jumping jacks, pendulums and side arm and leg raises. The sagittal plane features front to back movement, such as cross-country skis, jogs, kicks, leg curls and rocking horses.   The transverse plane includes horizontal movement, such as twists, knee swings and breast strokes.  Different muscle groups are targeted in each movement plane. Therefore, pool workouts that include exercises in all three movement planes feature greater muscle balance.   

The problem is that life simply does not occur strictly front to back, side to side and horizontal.  As Terri likes to say in her Texan drawl… “We don’t move around on land like wooden soldiers in straight planes, so why exercise in straight planes?”  Adding functionality by incorporating multi-planar movements can help people with activities of daily living (ADL). Multi-planar movements are those that combine frontal, sagittal and transverse movement.  Think circular, diagonal and spiral movements.  In life we reach to the diagonal, we rotate, we pivot, we turn, we stir, vacuum, dust, open doors, sit, bend, lunge and much more.  Much of our daily movement is performed multi-planar. 

Movements of the arms, legs and spine benefit from multidirectional, full range of motion (ROM) at the joint. And so think of a workout like this as helping to train your body to more efficiently perform life’s daily tasks without the risk of pulling a muscle or tweaking a joint.   Taking an angled approach to exercise not only improves function, it creates a challenge.  “Once I started moving in angles and crossing midline and rotating, my participants loved it,” says Terri.  “Their balance improved, their coordination improved, and my burnout decreased because I had a fun new way to get creative with moves,” she adds.

The Aqualogical Angles pool workout enlightens participants with ways to transform regular exercises into more corrective movement patterns.  Exercise truly can make a difference in how you move and how you live.  There is nothing enjoyable about moving and living with joints that have become stiff, inflamed and painful.  We can continue to do jacks, skis, jogs and kicks as per usual; or we can discover an angled approach to jacks, skis, jogs and kicks to ensure more purposeful results. This isn’t about changing your exercise routine; it is about making it better. 

Exercise programming for more mature audiences needs to be effective and results oriented.  Movement should be purposeful, helping to improve an individual’s ability to perform activities of daily living and maintain an independent and active lifestyle. Terri offers up a fun way to improve your mobility with pool exercises that feature internal and external rotation, diagonal limb patterns, spirals, crossing midline, circumduction moving to the corner, behind and more.  The diagonal movements are cued with fun clock-face cues.   Check out a clip of Terri explaining the clock cues.

PoolFit would like to thank Terri Mitchell for traveling to Florida and sharing her Texas-sized passion for aquatic fitness.  Enjoy this creative slant on water exercise and let us know what you think?

Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.