If you’re looking for something other than the traditional gym workout, Aqua Aerobics is fun and you’ll see results in your overall fitness and health almost instantly. Because water is 12 to 14 times thicker than air and offers resistance in every direction, these classes can give you great muscle tone, plus there’s no unsightly perspiration marks since you are cooled down in the water!
Most people won’t find water aerobics as hard as land-based aerobics. Although water is thicker and therefore harder to pull through than air, the exhaustion factor is low. Aqua Aerobics is even perfect for people with existing injuries, or those who are entering a new fitness regime.
If you’re worried about coordination (or your lack of it) don’t worry because in Aqua Aerobics the coordination level is very low. You’re forced to move so slowly that you have time to think about each move.
Expect to burn between 400 and 500 calories per hour in a water aerobics class, according to the Aquatic Exercise Association. The actual amount you burn will depend on your size, the intensity of your movements, as well as water temperature and depth. In general, faster movements incorporating the upper and lower body in deep water elicit the greatest calorie burn.
Aqua Aerobics can be done at home in your own pool or you can join a pre-existing class at your local swimming pool. The best thing about Aqua Aerobics is that there’s plenty of variety so you’ll never get bored.
Here’s some fun exercises you can try at home:
Laying back on the edge of the pool, open your legs like a V and then bring them quickly together with one ankle on top of the other. Open legs again and bring them together with the other ankle on top. Do small fast movements to work your quads and inner thighs. In addition to the legwork, your core will need to be engaged to keep you from floating or sinking.
Tip: Pointing your toes will make you look like a synchronized swimmer but it will also help engage your butt and quads more.
Starting from a “plie position” (heels together, knees bent outward, and bottom tucked under) jump as high as you can out of the water, returning to the plie as you land. The deeper you go in the water, the harder your quads and butt will have to work to propel you out of it.
Tip: To really work those inner thighs, go as quickly as you can with no rest at the top or bottom of the move.
Place noodle between legs as if riding a bike. Move legs and arms in a circle, alternating legs and arms as if jogging. Extend elbows behind body and straighten arms far in front to pull yourself through the water quickly for maximum speed and effort. Make sure your head is aligned with your body and not tilted forward or backward.
Tip: Using a pool noodle, you’ll get your heart rate up while working your legs and arms and challenging your balance.