Chicago native, Natalie Phillips, chronicles her weight reduction journey on social media. She has reduced her weight by 70 lbs. this year without surgery or weight loss medications. She refers to her weight reduction program as a weight release program rather than a weight loss program: she says that she does not consider weight reduction a loss at all and does not like the negative connotation. Ms. Phillips’ exercise of choice is aqua aerobics. She says that aqua aerobics is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise for those who have cardiovascular exercise limitations. Ms. Phillips took time from her busy schedule as a first responder and as a mother of three to share her experiences as an aqua aerobic exercise participant. The following interview ensued with Chicago Heart Health Examiner, Sandra Phillips.
Sandra Phillips: Do you think that aqua aerobic exercise is a good form of aerobic exercise that is beneficial to the cardiovascular system?
Natalie Phillips: Yes, I do because the participants won’t feel winded or uncomfortable while performing the exercises. They will get a hard workout, but because of their buoyancy they will feel light and refreshed.
SP: Aqua aerobics are aerobic exercises performed in a swimming pool. Aerobic exercises increase the heart rate during exercise: the heart beats faster while exercising until cooling down. Did you experience an increased heart rate while performing aqua aerobics?
NP: Yes, I did, but I was not negatively affected by the faster heart rate. I would recommend that anyone looking to build up their heart get into aqua aerobic exercise.
SP: How is the faster heart rate different with aqua aerobic exercise than with other aerobic exercises?
NP: It is a low impact cardiovascular exercise that lowers blood pressure and builds endurance for more activity. You will feel so light and able to work harder in the pool.The resistance of the water forces the body to work harder almost as if the water is telling you what to do!
SP: Does the water create the rhythm of the workout?
NP: Yes, it does. Exactly!
SP: Another point you presented to me is that these exercises strengthen and tone muscles. How is that affected by buoyancy?
NP: Water resistance helps to tone muscles. In my Aqua Fit Class, we are given weights that we drag back and forth through the water. It’s a great workout!
SP: If the water is doing most of the work, how do you counteract for a great workout?
NP: Your movements counteract for a great workout; the water does the rest of the work.
SP: Does aqua aerobics tone muscles similarly to the way a physical therapist does by manipulating targeted muscles?
NP: Yes, and because the heart is a muscle, it gets toned too!
SP: The movement extends to the cardiovascular system then. You also noted that the exercises increase flexibility. Did you experience this?
NP: Yes. When I workout in the pool, I feel unstoppable and awesome, and I can walk and stand for longer periods of time.
SP: What body parts have become more flexible?
NP: I feel more flexibility in my upper body.
SP: As a first responder and mother of three, you experience some stressful days. Do these exercises help relieve stress?
NP: Yes, I feel light in my Aqua Fit Class. Things feel difficult everywhere else, but in this one place I feel confident and as if I am on a cloud.
SP: Many forms of exercise can be difficult to commit to for various reasons whether because of rigor or boredom. How does this exercise compare to using a treadmill for example?
NP: There is immediate relaxation versus the treadmill whereon you have to progress into the workout to get relaxed. If you like water, you will love aqua aerobics.
SP: Is it low impact?
NP: It is.
SP: Would being low impact make it easier on the joints?
NP: Yes. I am also an osteoarthritis patient and my knee pain has decreased significantly since doing my Aqua Fit Class.
SP: What about burning calories and weight reduction?
NP: On the average day, I burn 789 calories in a 50 minute class.
SP: That is impressive.
NP: Thank you!
SP: What is the name of the facility where you workout? Is it in Chicago?
NP: It is called LA Fitness; however, yes, it is in Chicago. I believe there are many locations nationwide.
SP: How affordable are the prices at LA Fitness?
NP: I pay $40 per month.
SP: Does that fee include classes?
NP: Yes, it does.
SP: Are these classes convenient to schedule?
NP: There are morning, afternoon and evening classes at the different locations during the week and on weekends.
SP: That is great! I would love to accompany you to an Aqua Fit Class as a guest to experience it.
NP: I would love to have you accompany me.
SP: How many LA Fitness locations are there in Chicago?
NP: There are over fifteen locations throughout the City of Chicago.
SP: I look forward to previewing an Aqua Fit Class with you! Thanks, too, for granting this interview!
NP: I am happy to have been of service! See you at poolside!
Ms. Phillips is continuing her weight release program and posting her progress. She will update us on her progress.