Water aerobic exercises are fun, calorie-burning, muscle-strengthening workouts that happen to also be very safe for your joint health.
Many community centres with indoor pools offer group aquatic fitness classes, where water aerobics are led by a professional, and these classes are a great way to have fun while you burn calories.
Water aerobic exercises can also be done on your own if you have access to a private pool. You can use YouTube tutorials to guide you through water aerobics basics, but in this article, we’ll also go over 5 popular water aerobic exercises.
The added resistance of the water helps you burn more calories while the water’s buoyancy reduces the impact on your joints.
It’s important to enjoy your workouts. Being in a pool is a more fun way to work out, and many people enjoy the experience.
During water aerobic exercises, you get to tone your body and get some cardio at the same time. Below are 5 of the best water aerobic exercises you could try as a beginner:
1. Walk-in Water
It may seem simple to walk on land, but water creates resistance, and power-walking in water is therefore a great exercise. Depending on how deep the water is, this movement can target your whole body as you move your arms, legs and engage the core. You can even amplify the intensity of this exercise by using wrist and ankle weights while you walk. For best results, follow these tips:
- Start off in the shallow area, where the water hits your waist.
- Elongate the spine and keep your core muscles tight and engaged while you walk.
- Be mindful of using the balls of your heels first instead of walking on your toes.
- Keep your arms in the water and move them as you walk to give your biceps, triceps, and deltoids a workout at the same time.
- If you walk in water for about 5 to 10 minutes, it’s a great warm-up for your other water aerobic exercises that you’ll perform afterwards.
When you’ve increased your endurance, you can make this movement tougher by increasing your walking speed more and more. You can also try running in a zig-zag pattern in the pool, to create a more intense workout and burn more calories.
2. Straddle a Noodle
For this exercise, get a floating pool noodle and straddle it with your legs in the deeper end of the pool. Imagine as if you are sitting on a horse. To get a good workout, pedal your feet in the water as fast as possible, while opening and closing your arms at the same time. This can be a bit of a challenge as the noodle will naturally want to float upwards.
To keep yourself steady on the noodle, sit up tall and ensure your spine is straight. Leaning equals cheating, so don’t! When you pay attention to your proper form, your core area will stay active in keeping you stable on the noodle. Do this extra challenging drill for 5 to 10 minutes. As you straddle the noodle, you also strengthen your upper chest, arms, and back. This is one of those water aerobic exercises that does feel challenging, but it’s also a lot of fun.
3. One-Legged Balance
This aquatic exercise lives up to its name by letting you hold your weight on one leg with your other leg’s knee up. Though this sounds simple, this will make your core and leg muscles stronger. Single leg work is very good for strengthening and toning. This exercise also helps you improve your balance, reducing the risk of falls and injuries in your everyday life.
To execute this movement, stand in waist-deep water and lift one knee up. Make sure you place a pool noodle under the middle of the bent foot. The sides of the noodle will float up, making a U shape. Keep your hand on the side and balance with one foot up for as long as you can. Finally, you can switch legs and repeat the exercise on the other leg.
If you want an added challenge, you can try lifting both your arms above your head as you balance on one leg. If you have friends in the pool exercising with you, ask them to swim in circles around you. They will create tiny currents that will make this balancing movement a lot tougher to hold.
4. Do the Spiderman
Unleash your inner child with the Spiderman move, which is a lot of fun and a great workout. To perform the Spiderman, pretend to climb the pool wall akin to the manner in which Spiderman climbs buildings. Pretend to defy gravity, which is impossible on land. This challenging move will toughen up your core and back muscles.
To execute this exercise, stand near the edge of the pool and stabilize your body. Next, sweep your hands back and forth as you run your legs up the side of the pool wall, and back down to the pool floor. Next, do four Spidey moves in succession, then alternate the leading leg.
5. Tuck Jumps
Tuck jumps in water are simple water aerobic exercises, yet very challenging. Tuck jumps are easy to learn how to do, but can spike up your heart rate fast when performed repeatedly. Most of all, tuck jumps work your core, helping you shed excess belly fat. To start, stand in the water and jump.
Each time you jump, bring your knees to your chest. This tuck move also works your legs and arms.
Perform multiple repetitions of this movement as part of your water aerobics routine, to get a good cardio workout. If you want to make it more challenging, do your tuck jumps in the deeper end where your feet will not touch the pool floor. As a result, you have to tread water in between jumps, though most people prefer jumping from the pool floor.
6. Water Zumba Class or Group Aquatic Class
Few workouts are more fun than a water Zumba group class. It combines the benefits of dance, fun songs, and a good cardio workout. Best of all, these classes have a party atmosphere so you won’t feel like it’s a workout when you’re splashing wildly with your classmates.
Get the Most Out of Your Workouts
There are a few things you can do to get the most out of your water aerobic exercises. Make sure you wear water shoes, as their webbed footing offers resistance and support. You’ll find water shoes especially helpful when you’re performing tuck jumps in the water, or power-walking in the pool. Don’t forget to hydrate before, during, and after your workout. Keep your water bottle near the pool for easy access.
A swimming pool can be a tricky place to work out, because in the water, you won’t even notice that you’re sweating. Aquatic exercises, however, offer an awesome cardio and strength workout, strengthening major muscle groups in your body. It is especially helpful to exercise in water if you have joint issues or you’re recovering from an injury. Of course, before you try any new fitness routine, it is advisable to talk to a fitness professional about it. You can also take a CircleDNA test to find out your optimal fitness training program based on your genetics.