If you’re at all familiar with water aerobics, you’re probably already aware of the value a water jog belt brings to any aqua-based routine. But finding a belt with the proper cut, material, and density for your body can be challenging. The type of belt you’ll need is chiefly dependent on your body type and your routine intensity. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of belt styles to choose from.
New to water aerobics? Just looking for a little insight? Take a look at the simple guide below. And always keep in mind that a flotation belt is not a life-saving device and should never be relied on as such.
The Ergo Belt by Aqua Sphere features a fairly even buoyancy distribution, making for an easy upright position with limited core engagement.One defining factor to keep in mind when shopping for a water jog belt is your body’s density. The more lean muscle mass you have, the denser your body. Because lean muscle doesn’t do a whole lot to keep you afloat, you’ll need a flotation belt with a little extra buoyancy. If you have a higher body fat percentage, your body is less dense. And because fat is naturally buoyant, you will require a much less buoyant jogging belt. For example, Pro and Pro + Belts by AquaJogger are great for lean athletes and muscular male builds. While the AquaJogger Classic, which is 30% less buoyant than the Pro model, would be ideal for body types with slightly more fat percentage. If you’re not sure of your body fat percentage, try a simple float test to see how well you float with no assistance. If you sink immediately, choose a high-buoyancy model; if you linger near the surface or don’t sink at all, seek out a standard or low-buoyancy flotation belt.
Shape & Cut of Belt
Even-Buoyancy Flotation Belts
You’ll also want to consider the style of the belt. Although nearly every flotation belt buckles around the waist, each cut is designed to support the body in different ways. Water jog belts with an even distribution of foam (similar portions of foam on the front, back, and sides of the belt) will assist you in maintaining an easy upright position. Belts with evenly distributed buoyancy are best for those who feel insecure in the water or those with poor core strength. The Hydro-Fit Wave Belt is a perfect example of an equal buoyancy belt. It not only supports the body from every angle, but also reduces drag and leaves your arms and legs free to exercise. Because it supports the entire body without strain, it’s the ideal flotation belt for beginners, seniors, or rehabilitation programs.
Uneven-Buoyancy Jog Belts
One of the most popular jog belt designs features a greater amount of foam toward the back of the belt. A higher cut on the back side is best for more advanced aqua cardio participants.. Because the belt will continually lean the body forward, your core muscles will engage to remain vertical. This means that you’ll be benefiting from a great abdominal workout whether that’s what you’re targeting or not. The AquaJogger brand is a tried-and-true favorite for water aerobics enthusiasts. Because of the uneven distribution of AquaJogger models, they are ideal for more advanced water workout fanatics and those hoping to incorporate a core workout into their routine.
Adjustable Flotation Belts
Finally, there are some belts that feature adjustable floats. Typically, an adjustable flotation belt consists of 4-5 square modules that thread onto a heavy-duty woven belt. Flotation belts like these are highly adaptable, making them perfect for those learning to swim or anyone participating in a weight loss program. The floats can be evenly distributed for newer aqua cardio participants or can be moved to the back for a more challenging buoyancy effect. The Water Gear Instructional Swim Belt provides a good example of an adjustable module belt. The simple and effective design works with a number of body types and skill levels.
Where to Buy?
Luckily, flotation belts are pretty ubiquitous these days. For help narrowing the options, a reputable swim shop can point you in the right direction.