As a runner, do you ever feel like you’re treading water? Perhaps what you need to do is, well, tread water.
Building aquajogging into a running programme is a great way to replicate the movements and aerobic demands of running, without the risk of injury.
Olympians such as Dame Kelly Holmes and Alistair Brownlee both used it while recovering from injury. And, if their combined tally of four gold medals is anything to go by, it seems to work.
Eager to experience the benefits myself, I headed to Brockwell Lido in south London for my aquajogging debut…
While there are other ways of experiencing “impact-free running”, such as anti-gravity treadmills, they tend to be ruinously expensive.
Aquajogging, by contrast, requires only that you invest in a buoyancy belt, which you can pick up for less than £20. The purpose of the belt is to allow you to stay afloat, so that your technique is focused on replicating your running action, rather than attempting not to drown.
High-impact sports such as running often result in injuries such as stress fractures. Aquajogging is the perfect antidote to this.
Suspended in deep water, unable to touch the bottom, you can replicate your normal running style without your feet striking the ground.
Like land-based running, aquajogging requires that you maintain a strong, upright posture. This is easier said than done in the water.
I have to make a conscious effort to keep my head up and my shoulders back. Once I manage it, though, aquajogging becomes almost, almost, enjoyable.
Water is 784 times denser than air. Exercising in H2O, therefore, provides a great resistance workout. It’s tempting to use your hands as paddles to propel you through the water and, for this reason, it’s best performed with hands closed.
Aquajogging should be rechristened “aquasprinting”, because it’s much more effective as an interval session. Work hard in the water for set periods of time, and keep the recovery periods to a minimum.
By replicating tough land-based workouts, you’ll receive the same benefits. A few minutes of aquajogging at a decent intensity certainly has me out of breath.