Aqua jogging – or more accurately aqua running – is a form of cross training where you run through water with the aid of a floatation device. It is commonly used as a substitute for running during periods of injury, as the lack of impact generally allows you to exercise without any risk of exacerbating the injury. In this short post we feature five key facts about the activity.


  1. Aqua jogging mimics the activity of running from a neural perspective but the two activities differ from a muscular perspective. By this, we mean that the output from the nervous system is identical between aqua jogging and running, but the absence of ground contact means that the muscular pattern between the two activities diverges somewhat. As a result, aqua jogging bears a greater resemblance to running than any other from of cross training but it is not the same.


  1. In order to adequately raise your heart rate so as to maintain aerobic fitness, you have to work really hard while in the water ie. you must exercise intensely and breaks cannot be so long that they will allow your heart rate to drop. The flip side of this is that the lack of impact means that you recover really quickly after a session.


  1. Given the tediously slow speed of movement and the uniformity of the surroundings, it can be quite a monotonous activity. This, combined with the upper body resistance, means that it is very difficult keep exercising for longer than 40 minutes.


  1. The activity can be quite demanding on your upper body. Consequently, it can be very difficult to sustain an intense tempo for a prolonged period of time. It can be very useful to intersperse the intense bouts of activity with short bouts of lighter activity. I really like a 3:1 ratio, with intense bouts lasting between 30 and 60 seconds.


  1. Technique is important. Moving vertically through water is inefficient, which means that your body’s inclination will be to shift your torso forward. Try to avoid this by keeping your shoulders back and allowing your leg to lock out directly beneath your hip.