Aquatic Center & Holistic Health

At Steel Fitness Riverport, we see pools as much more than summer hangout areas for swim teams and sun bathers. Rather, we believe that pools are an amazing opportunity to make fitness accessible to anyone. Because aquatic environments offer the opportunity for low-impact workouts, they can support individuals who might be rehabilitating an injury, prone to chronic pain, or who just want a different type of workout. We also know that pool environments are made for fun and restoration, not just workouts, which is why we also have steam rooms, saunas, and whirlpools for spa-like relaxation.

In addition to our fitness floor and our outdoor workout area, The Yard, Steel Fitness Riverport features a state-of-the-art aquatic center with three different pools. With lap pools for those who want to swim interrupted, therapy classes for rehabilitation, and activity pools for group exercise, our aquatic center accommodates all different healthcare needs. Check out this awesome facility at our local gym in Bethlehem!

In this blog, we will cover the types of activities you can do in an aquatic center as well as the benefits of these activities. With these suggestions and ideas, our hope is that you feel comfortable trying out a different type of exercise at our aquatic center!

Swimming at your Local Gym

Uninterrupted Lap Lanes

Swimming might be the most obvious forms of aquatic exercise, but it is also one of the most beneficial! If you have a dedicated swimming practice already, chances are you want to swim laps uninterrupted, finding your flow as you complete your swimming workout. Steel Fitness Riverport provides lap-only lanes so that you can swim without needing to worry about getting kicked out by the swim team, getting whistled at by lifeguards going on break, or getting splashed by other pool activities.

Learning to Swim

“You can’t teach old dogs new tricks” rings true some of the time, maybe when it comes to becoming a professional ballerina after getting a double knee replacement. However, when it comes to swimming, there really is no such thing as “too old.” If anything, swimming is one of the best activities in the world for adults or those who have not had a dedicated exercise routine. We offer group swimming classes and have kickboards, noodles, and flippers, to keep you afloat as you learn to swim. At least give swimming a try at our local gym in Bethlehem, knowing that you are in a safe and supported environment!

Benefits of swimming

We mentioned that swimming is one of the most beneficial exercises, and we will dive into that topic further.

  • Cardiovascular exercise: Whereas running can be really high-impact, swimming offers a low-impact alternative for cardiovascular exercise. You raise your heart rate as you swim and keep it up as you continue lapping the pool.
  • Lung capacity: Every time you hold your breath under water, you work to build your lung capacity. A dedicated swimming routine trains your lungs to maximize your intake, use, and exhalation of Oxygen. In the process, you build a stronger respiratory system.
  • Full-Body workout: When you swim, you must use every muscle to stay afloat. If you disengage your muscles, you will start to sink. Think about the motion of a swimming stroke: you use your shoulders, arms, and back for the motion of the stroke and your entire lower body to propel you forward as you kick. It’s one of the best workouts for holistic health for this reason.
  • Temperature-Controlled: As a local gym in Bethlehem, we know how hot and humid Pennsylvania summer days can get. While we keep our exercise rooms cool, you still tend to heat up and sweat — after your workout, you need to shower immediately. With swimming, though, you always jump into a pool at a comfortable temperature, so you never have to worry about exercise-induced overheating. You can have the hardest workout of your life and still leave feeling refreshed and energized.
  • Stress relief: Nearly any form of exercise comes with stress relief benefits, but swimming releases even more endorphins than most. This is because you develop a routine as you swim: left, right, left, right. Kick, kick, kick, kick. When your body swims, it has no choice but to enter a zen-like flow.

If you want to experience the benefits of swimming for yourself, ask about Steel Fitness Riverport aquatic facilities. Check out our month-to-month, annual, and paid-in-full membership types and make swimming a part of your wellness routine at Steel Fitness Riverport.

Aquatic Exercise at your Local Gym

If you find swimming laps boring or do not particularly enjoy that exercise, aquatic classes might be a better fit for your workout style. We especially recommend aquatic exercise for its low-impact benefits, as it makes working out accessible for anyone.

Aquatic Exercises Classes

With aquatic exercise, there are so many different types of exercises you can do. Steel Fitness Riverport has weekly aquatic activity classes to that you can have a fitness coach lead you through exercises you might not otherwise do on your own. Common types of aquatic exercises include:

  • Water Aerobics: you flow through traditional dryland exercises (like walking, running, kickboxing, or calisthenics), but with the benefit of a low-impact aquatic environment. These classes get your heart rate up, tone your muscles, and increase your physical endurance.
  • Water Zumba: think of the dynamic movement, dancing, and high-energy of a Zumba class, and then just add water.
  • Water Pilates: your favorite land activity can happen easily in an aquatic environment. It’s just as fun and energizing with less risk for injury.

Benefits of Aquatic Exercise

Aquatic exercise comes with its own set of benefits, beyond what swimming laps has to offer. Consider these benefits as you think about adding aquatic exercise into your local gym routine.

  • Low-Impact: we have referred to this benefit before, but we want to expand on what “low-impact” means when it comes to water exercise. Low-impact means that your body faces less resistance in water when it moves as a result of buoyancy. This means aquatic exercise is easier on your joints. If you have had any joint replacement, such as knee or hip replacement, or have arthritis, aquatic exercise could be a great way to stay active.
  • Community-oriented: swimming laps is a great choice for solitude, but aquatic exercise classes are really fun and group-oriented. You can meet other people in the Steel Fitness Riverport community, including our friendly and knowledgeable staff members.
  • Easy to Start: the only equipment you need for aquatic exercise is your bathing suit. If you want goggles or a swim cap, those might come in handy as well. Other than that, though, you don’t need to invest in any fitness equipment to start aquatic exercise. We provide noodles, water weights, kickboards, and flippers at our aquatic center and local gym.

Saunas, Steam Rooms, and Whirlpools

One of the greatest parts of aquatic fitness isn’t even in the pool. Saunas, steam rooms, and whirlpools can compliment your wellness routine, as they promote muscle relaxation, stress release, and open respiratory systems.

When you enter a sauna, you reap incredible health benefits. Saunas help to:

  • Relieve stress
  • Flush toxins and purify your body
  • Clean your skin
  • Promote sleep
  • Relax muscles and joints

When you join Steel Fitness Riverport, you get access to our club amenities, such as our sauna, tanning room, and towel service. If you become a PULSE X or PULSE SGT member, you can even more aquatic center access at our lap, therapy, and activity pools. Plus, you get to choose from over 140 group exercise and aquatic classes a week.

If you have any questions about our aquatic center or the benefits of aquatic fitness, contact or stop by our local gym in Bethlehem today. We are excited for you to experience our incredible fitness atmosphere and take advantage of our aquatic center facilities at Steel Fitness Riverport.

 

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Why You Should Add Yoga To Your Workout Routine

When you think of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson working out, what image comes to mind? Chances are, you picture these men, with biceps the size of your face, benching a midsize Chevy truck. Maybe you imagine them squatting a small house or cranking out 100 pull-ups in under a minute. Whatever you thought of, we highly doubt it was yoga.

But at Steel Fitness Riverport, we want to change your conception of yoga as merely a stretching class. Instead, we believe yoga is an asset to any fitness routine. Dedicating even one day a week to yoga can make you stronger, more focused, and, of course, more flexible. Consider the specific ways that yoga can enhance your workout routine, and then drop into a class at your local gym in Bethlehem to give it a chance.

Our Pulse X Schedule for group fitness classes at Steel Fitness Riverport offers multiple yoga classes for a reason. Stop by today and supplement your fitness routine with yoga group fitness classes.

Yoga Builds Strength

Push-Ups

While it is typically called “chaturanga” or “your vinyasa flow,” yoga class involves push-ups — a lot of them, we might add. Unlike push-ups you might already have included in your gym routine, yoga push-ups primarily build forearm strength while they also tone your deltoids and pectoralis muscles. Going through these forearm chaturanga push-ups at a sequenced pace also helps you to prioritize good form in your push-ups. Finally, when it comes to push-ups, you can always add as many as you want. If you feel like you aren’t getting a good enough strength workout in your yoga class, add a double push-up or try a one-legged variation of the forearm push-up.

Full-Body Engagement

Yoga poses also encourage engagement from every single muscle in your body. Whereas a more traditional workout might isolate legs, abs, or arms depending on the day, a yoga practice gives you a full-body workout by design. Take chair pose, a foundational yoga posture, for instance. Chair pose works your biceps, quadriceps, abductors, glutes, hamstrings . . . and we could continue through practically every muscle in the human body. When you commit to proper engagement throughout your body during a yoga pose, you will experience how challenging yoga can truly be. You will leave feeling sore in muscles you didn’t even think you worked out, simply because you practice full-body engagement.

Bandhas for Nuanced Strength

If you have a fitness routine already and go to your local gym even a few times a week, you have probably already developed strength. Yoga, though, teaches you to build strength in areas of your body that you would have never thought to engage. While bulging biceps or six-pack abs are “showy” muscles that you can flex, your internal core muscles are actually more important to overall health.

In yoga, the “bandhas” refer to energy locks in your body. In other words, bandhas are areas of your body that you can engage and disengage strategically to either encourage strength or relaxation. Your three main bandhas are the mula bandha (a few inches below your navel), your uddiyana bandha (by your core), and your jalandhara bandha (by your throat). If these seem like foreign concepts, that just further shows why you should try out yoga. You’d be amazed to see how engaging your core (uddiyana bandha) in a specific way can help you add more weight to the squat rack, do more sit-ups in a minute, or even do one-armed push-ups.

Yoga and Lung Capacity

Remember your last core workout, maybe it was sit-ups or a plank, where you forgot to breathe the entire time? You ended the sequence feeling winded, light-headed, and generally weak because you were not giving your muscles any Oxygen. Yoga classes force you to consider your breath as an active component of your fitness routine. By moving through postures on inhales and exhales, you build breath awareness and experience the correlation between breath and power. Additionally, yoga encourages you to maximize your inhales and exhales by focusing on breathing from your diaphragm all the way up to your throat. This means you are taking in more air and activating all organs of your respiratory system. If you engage in any cardiovascular activity such as running or swimming, take a yoga class at Steel Fitness Riverport and just see how much it enhances your favorite workout.

Yoga Builds Balance

Even if you have the most intelligent fitness routine, chances are you have tendencies that get your body out of balance. Whether you spend more time on your right side as you stretch, compensate for a heavy squat by putting more weight into your dominant leg, or even just stand with weight to one side of your body, you are upsetting your body’s equilibrium. It is nearly impossible to be fully balanced because daily activities send us askew every day, but yoga and its focus on both sides can really help to reset your body’s balance.

Balancing Postures

When is the last time you included balancing exercises in your general fitness routine? Nearly all yoga classes include a balancing series, but here’s the secret: balancing postures are really just core workouts disguised by being on one leg. To balance on one leg requires incredible core engagement and stability, which means you are also working out as you enhance your brain’s vestibular system (balance). Balancing postures are tough, and they will require you to engage all parts of your body and brain in order to be successful. To ramp up your fitness routine, take a yoga class at your local gym and see how your body responds.

Mental Focus and Resilience

In yoga, it’s called “drishti,” but in a fitness gym world it’s really just focus. Balancing postures in yoga require you to set your gaze on an un-moving point, quiet your mind, and maintain full-body engagement. Otherwise, you’ll fall out of the pose. The mental energy that balancing requires easily translates into your workout routine. That time you thought you couldn’t do one more rep; that other time when you hurt yourself because you lost your focus; and, yes, even that moment when you tripped on your jump rope. Developing balance and body awareness through yoga is an incredible way to bring it to the rest of your fitness routine. Try a class at Steel Fitness Riverport, your local gym in Bethlehem, and bring balance to your workout routine.

Yoga Builds Flexibility

We know this is probably the first benefit you associate with yoga, but have you thought about why flexibility is a benefit to your fitness routine in the first place? After all, you can just cool down and stretch after your workout, so why go to a yoga class for the stretching?

Deep Stretching

The difference is that we usually hold yoga stretches for much longer, which promotes the stretching of fascia (the body’s connective tissue). Think of fascia like a gel between our body’s tendons and ligaments. When the fascia gets warm, it becomes more liquid and helps to lubricate your body’s muscle system. When the fascia cools down, it gets more solid and tends to get stuck. Repeated exercises, postures, and routines can also “stick” the fascia in place, leading to soreness and tightness. Yoga stretches get into the deep tissue of your muscle, encouraging the fascia to move freely and release from certain spots.

Twists and Internal Stretching

When is the last time you explicitly stretched your ascending and descending colon? That’s what we thought. Yoga poses allow us to give attention to areas of the body we didn’t even know needed our focus. When you engage in twists and cool down at the end of yoga classes, you focus on your digestive health and help to reduce inflammation in your colon. Not only does this promote general health, but it also helps to purify your body and restore for your next workout.

Steel Fitness Riverport offers yoga classes every week for those who want to enhance their fitness routine. The next time you’re at our local gym in Bethlehem, take a yoga class and see how it transforms your workout routine.

 

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