Instructor Leah Kinarthy particularly likes the response from her ladies when she suggests a pushup.
Her clientele tends to sport a baby bump that would preclude them from such exercises, were they not in the pool.
Aquafit offers water workouts that are particularly beneficial to the pre- and postnatal crowd explained Kinarthy.
“The main thing is the properties of water really support the growing pregnant body so there’s no injuries possible. You’re being supported by the buoyancy of the water,” said Kinarthy, who teaches out of Oak Bay Recreation Centre.
Circulatory concerns that arise with pregnancy can be alleviated because of those properties of water.
“The water, because it has that hydrostatic pressure, it increases blood flow. That way you’re not as much at risk of developing varicose veins,” she said.
Water also lowers the heart rate.
“That means you can get a better workout at a lower heart rate, which is another benefit,”
Add that to the obvious protection of joints, which are extra relaxed due to hormone changes, and it’s an all-round good workout for an expectant mother. “I teach mostly deep water, so there’s no impact,” added Kinarthy.
She ran a prenatal program years ago in California and developed the program in Oak Bay, recently adding her official certification.
“I’m very interested in that population. For one thing the ladies are all very happy,” she said. “You can start at any trimester. I find the majority are in their second trimester when they start, the morning sickness and all that stuff has dissipated, and they’re feeling really good.”
It’s an easier exercise to maintain than tennis, running or weights as the body changes.
“A lot of the time you’d have to stop as you get in shape… it’s just too uncomfortable. With water fitness you can do it right up to your due date,” she said.
Postnatal “your body is very close to the prenatal body,” she said. While the hormones have shifted, physical changes still exist and those loosened joints can take up to a year to return to pre-pregnancy strength.
“There’s lots of things you can do in aquafit that you can’t do on land,” she said.
Deep water workouts include the security of a life belt or pool noodle under the baby bump. She also adds dumbbell workouts in the shallow end for an all-over exercise routine.
Unlike her other dry land fitness classes, where focus is on the workout as opposed to the chatter, she encourages camaraderie.
“I want them to get to know other women who are pregnant, create a new social group,” she said. “It brings them closer to their cohort. It’s got a really good social benefit.”
Visit oakbay.ca/parks-recreation or call 250-595-7946 for session dates and times.