16th November 2017. Exercises based on or in the water continue to grow in popularity around the world. It's not just because access to a pool is relatively easy to come by for many, whether at home or in a community setting. It's also because working out in the water is more fun, less stressful, and in many ways easier on the body than dry land exercise. However, "Jazzercise" type classes, old-school water aerobics, and even Zumba-like classes in the water may not yield the challenge you want. What if you're looking for something with a higher intensity, a greater challenge, and more potential for long-term gains in other areas? You'll need an activity that's up to the task. Enter FloatFit, yet another small-scale craze that could explode into widespread popularity solely because it offers its participants a brand-new take on water-based exercises. Rather than spending your time in the water, working your muscles against its resistive force, FloatFit is all about staying above the water, as if you were on a surfboard. Ending up "in the drink" is a sign that you couldn't keep your balance! Don't worry, though ? even the most experienced instructor is likely to take a spill into the deep end now and again. What is this fascinating new exercise, what do you need to get started, and what can you gain from your experience?

FloatFit explained: how does this activity work?

For those who've been surfing in the past, you know how difficult it is just to stand up on your board in the water, to say nothing of actually riding waves. It's a tough balancing act between your shifting centre of gravity and the unpredictable motion of the water beneath you. It's exhausting! That's exactly what FloatFit looks to capitalise on ? engaging all the muscle groups in your body by trying to balance on a board above the water. Rather than a surfboard, though, FloatFit classes use a special piece of equipment known as an "aquabase" board. An aquabase board is an inflatable object that provides a platform sturdy enough for you to stand up straight on, even in the middle of the pool. FloatFit classes involve groups of individuals on board their aquabase boards, usually provided by the class itself, as the individual boards are fairly expensive. An instructor leads the group in a 30-minute-long session that combines some of the careful pose work of yoga with the calorie-blasting power of high-intensity interval training. One moment you might just be trying to balance on your board, and the next, your instructor is telling you to start dropping down to perform burpees. All the while, you'll be rocking back and forth as the waves in the pool upset your board. Even the motion of your classmates will make things more difficult as they send smaller, choppier waves your way. Throughout the class, you'll be pushing your body to its limits ? that's the whole point of HIIT, after all. You'll find that it's one of the most "full body" workouts out there. Of course, that's not even considering all the extra swimming you might have to do ? you'll need to hurry back onto your board when you slip into the water. Don't worry, though, because you'll hardly be the only one struggling to stay upright at first.

Who can benefit from FloatFit?

Almost anyone can enjoy the benefits of FloatFit with a competent instructor. In fact, one news report about the growing fitness craze quoted an instructor who said an 80-year-old man had successfully enjoyed taking part in several of the classes. While that's certainly an outlier, it speaks to the ease with which many people can pick up the activities in this class. Individuals with limited mobility or problems such as arthritis will find the exercises a bit too demanding, however, especially given the rapid nature of the class. Switching between so many positions over and over can be tough on an individual's joints ? so it may be best to stick with other types of low-impact exercise. For those who are always on the hunt for their next fitness challenge, FloatFit provides an exciting opportunity. You may not master it on your first, second, or even your third session, but you'll quickly come to find out just how intensive it is compared to many dry land exercises. There's simply no equivalent way to harness the unpredictable resistance water can provide. Since many classes provide all the necessary equipment, there is a low barrier to entry regarding cost. If you already have a membership at a pool where FloatFit is available, the cost to begin is almost nothing. From the young looking to hone their physical fitness to the middle-aged seeking better health, FloatFit presents opportunities for improved health and fitness for almost everyone.

Where can you experience this floating workout?

Now, the big question on your mind might be: where can I try a FloatFit class if I'm interested? The good news is that 2017 has been the breakout year for FloatFit, with classes popping up at aquatic centres and community pools all over the UK. It should only take a brief look around your local area to determine if you can access a nearby class. If one isn't available, why not ask? Let the fitness instructors at your preferred gym or pool know that you think there might be a demand for FloatFit in the area ? you might see it offered! One on one training is also a possibility, though in this case, you may need to purchase your own equipment. Working with a personal fitness instructor, you can explore the full limits of the FloatFit program or even try to devise your own exercises as well. Once you understand the routine, there's no strict reason to participate in a class setting. However, the FloatFit workout can benefit from the group environment, where you can receive praise from the instructor and encouragement from your classmates. Working out alone is an option, too, if you choose to purchase the board on your own. Even so, visiting a class for an introduction to the activity can help save you time and frustration further down the road. Consider all your options if you're interested! With a rising popularity, it won't go away anytime soon.

Placing FloatFit within your overall exercise routine

Once you've experienced it, it's hard to deny that FloatFit is fun, exciting, and one of the most challenging new forms of exercise out there. What kind of space should it occupy in your general pursuit of fitness? Can it be the sole thing you focus on with your efforts? Unfortunately, no. While you can certainly burn hundreds of calories, tone up your muscles, and improve your balance while participating in FloatFit, you won't see complete gains in areas like cardiovascular endurance or muscle mass. You will see somebenefits, for sure, but you will still need to work in some dry land exercises. Try to counter the high-intensity nature of FloatFit with some lower intensity exercises, like weight lifting for strength during the week, or going for short runs. Mixing in this level of variety will not only allow you to enjoy FloatFit more thoroughly, but it will equip you to be able to better complete your aquabase exercises. Since your class may meet only once or twice a week, it's a good idea to have some sense of what activities you can do between sessions. This way, you can round out your routine.

Find your balance on the water today

Your first FloatFit experience will be a challenging time, but you might quickly find it's an addictive way to exercise. With the board rocking beneath your feet and your instructor leading through exercise after exercise, you won't have time to think about just how hard it is ? you'll just need to do it! That's part of the beauty of FloatFit, especially for those who feel that other fitness classes in the water don't offer the level of challenge they want. Remember, though; you could always try to tackle this exercise alone ? learn the routine yourself, then run through it on your own in the pool. However you approach FloatFit, you're guaranteed a new experience.