Test the waters with aqua yoga

THE BALTIMORE SUN

I've heard about a new trend called water yoga. Can you tell me more about it? I hurt myself doing regular yoga.

We posed this question to Dana Pomfrey, member services manager and former aquatic director at the Merritt Athletic Club in Towson. The club offers a class called Yoga H2O, a water-based class consisting mainly of standing poses, Pomfrey says.

Water yoga, or aqua yoga, is building a following because it is so gentle on the body. Performed in water at waist to shoulder depth, the added buoyancy helps you move smoothly and avoid injury. The warmth of the water, which at Merritt is kept at about 93 degrees, is also soothing to the muscles and will help improve your range of motion.

For those not quite ready to try traditional yoga, water yoga may be just the way to get your feet wet.

Please recommend hand weights that strap on so I don't have to worry about dropping them during long walks.

To tone the arms and burn more calories while you walk, hand weights are a great accessory. Here are three hot items that will free your hands so you can sip Gatorade or adjust the treadmill during a walk.

Bell Softone Wrist Weights. Best feature: soft, sand-filled doughnut design (available at various retail outlets for $10.99, or call 800-456-2355).

Altus Neoprene Weighted Aerobic Gloves. Best feature: zipper pocket for a house key or stick of gum (available at www.altusathletic.com, $17.50).

All Pro Wrist Weights. Best feature: snug, braceletlike Velcro fit (www.allproweights.com, $20).

My new morning workouts are doing wonders for my body, but they cut into my prep time for work. I find myself going to the office with wet or unwashed hair and slightly wrinkled clothes. How do others manage these problems?

Better to be in shape with wet hair than out of shape and perfectly groomed. Still, if it's bothering you, don't let this issue derail your morning exercise routine. If you don't have time to dry your hair, you have two choices:

Shower without washing your hair, then use a cleansing spray on dry locks. KMS Turnstylr Do-Over Cleansing Spray -- available at local salons -- or Aveda's Light Elements Reviving Mist will wipe out oil and grease.

Wash your hair and slick it back into a ponytail or bun (for women) or use a light gel (for men).

As for your clothes, stick with wrinkle-free fabrics on workout days. Throwing a sweater over a collared shirt is another quick trick.

Do you have a fitness question? You can submit questions via e-mail to fitness@baltsun.com, or online at baltimore sun.com / healthscience, or in writing to The Sun, Fitness Q&A;, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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