Extended Warm-up for Cooler Pool

Monday, December 13 2021

Exercising in cold water is right up their with getting a root canal.  No one likes it, including the instructor on deck who has to listen to the moans and groans of their students.  The Cold Water Warm-Up features an extended 10-minute warm-up that will thaw out chilly class participants with high-energy movement designed to get the body thoroughly warmed up and ready to exercise.    

Water temperature is an important consideration for aquatic fitness classes.  Teaching a class in a cool pool is not only miserable for the students, it can also make them more prone to musculoskeletal injury due to a lack of thermal warming. The Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) recommends a pool temperature of 83 -86 degrees Fahrenheit (28.3 -30 degrees Celsius).  For slower formats like yoga and arthritis, a temperature of 86 -90 degrees would be more appropriate unless warming movement is included.  Teaching a water fitness class in water temperature below 78 degrees is not recommended. 

Instructors don't have much say in water temperature despite the fact that students think they have access to a magic button that can instantly warm-up the pool.  Instead, instructors are empowered with the ability to make programming adjustments to accommodate temperatures above or below what is recommended.  If the water temperate is below 83 degrees, consider doing a longer warm-up with more vigorous moves, such as the one depicted in the Cold Water Warm-up.  Also, make sure the main exercise activity is more vigorous in nature.  Pilates would be a poor choice for a chilly pool.  Additionally, instructors should consider doing active stretching as opposed to static stretching during the cool down portion of a class.   Watch the video, Flexibility in Motion, which features a 20-minute active stretching routine. 

Above and beyond using this routine as an extended warm-up for chilly waters, instructors can also use this 10-minute burst of high-energy cardio in the main segment of their classes.   Fitmotivation extends a big thank you to Katy Coffey for sharing her extended warm-up.  clearly, she has taught in some chilly pools in the Boston area.  

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.