Water aerobics

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A water aerobics class at an Aquatic Centre. Aqua Aerobics.JPG
A water aerobics class at an Aquatic Centre.

Water aerobics (waterobics, aquarobics, aquatic fitness, aquafitness, aquafit) is the performance of aerobic exercise in water such as in a swimming pool. Done mostly vertically and without swimming typically in waist deep or deeper water, it is a type of resistance training. Water aerobics is a form of aerobic exercise that requires water-immersed participants. Most water aerobics is in a group fitness class setting with a trained professional teaching for about an hour. The classes focus on aerobic endurance, resistance training, and creating an enjoyable atmosphere with music. Different forms of water aerobics include: aqua Zumba, water yoga, aqua aerobics, and aqua jog.


Variation from land-based aerobics

While similar to land aerobics, in that it focuses on cardiac training, water aerobics differs in that it adds the component of water resistance and buoyancy. Although heart rate does not increase as much as in land-based aerobics, the heart is working just as hard and underwater exercise actually pumps more blood to the heart. [1]

Exercising in the water is not only aerobic, but also strength-training oriented due to the water resistance. Moving your body through the water creates a resistance that will activate muscle groups. Hydro aerobics is a form of an aerobic exercise that requires water-immersed participants.

Variation of format

An Aqua cycling class Aqua spinning class aboard a cruise ship.jpg
An Aqua cycling class

New aquatic formats are arising into the exercise world with ideas such as: aqua cycling and water pole dancing. Water aerobics is beneficial to a multitude of participants because the density of the water allows easy mobility for those with arthritis, obesity, and other conditions. Further, it is an effective way for people of all ages to incorporate aerobics and muscle-strengthening into their weekly exercise schedule. Most classes last for 45–55 minutes. [2] People do not even have to be strong swimmers to participate in water aerobics.

The performance of movement while suspended in water where the feet cannot touch the bottom surface, resulting in a non-impact, high-resistant, total body exercise workout, is known as deep water aerobics. Benefits of this method include less stress on the back, hips, knees and ankles.


Most land-based aerobic exercisers do not incorporate strength training into their schedules and therefore adding aquatic exercise can greatly improve their health. As stated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018), “Adults should also [in addition to aerobic exercise] do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.” [3] Over time water aerobics can lead to a reduction of blood pressure and resting heart rate, which will improve health overall. [4]

According to Moreno (1996) and her quotes from Huey an Olympic athlete trainer, the benefits of water resistance training include the activation of opposing muscle groups for a balanced workout. The push and pull of the water allows both increased muscle training and a built-in safety barrier for joints. In fact, before water aerobics water, injury therapy used the benefits of water. The water also helps to reduce lactic acid buildup. [1] Another obvious benefit to water exercise is the cooling effect of the water on the system. The average temperature around 78 degrees F (26 °C) in a group fitness pool, this temperature will force the body to burn calories to stay at homeostasis while also maintaining a cool, comfortable atmosphere with less sweat noticeable to the participant.

A water aerobics class incorporating flotation devices. 07-06 WtrAerob1a.jpg
A water aerobics class incorporating flotation devices.

The mitigation of gravity makes water aerobics safe for individuals able to keep their heads out of water, including the elderly. [5] Exercise in water can also prevent overheating through continuous cooling of the body. Older people are more prone to arthritis, osteoporosis, and weak joints therefore water aerobics is the safest form of exercise for these conditions. Research studies can teach us about the benefits the elderly can receive by participating in water aerobics. In a study done in Brazil, “Effects of water-based exercise in obese older women: Impact of short-term follow-up study on anthropometric, functional fitness and quality of life parameters” the effects of long-term water aerobics was tested. Although it did not conclude exactly as planned, their test subjects did experience improved aerobic capacity, muscle endurance, and better overall life quality. [6] The water also provides a stable environment for elderly with less balance control and therefore prevents injury.


Water aerobics has a few disadvantages from a practicality standpoint. Aqua aerobics requires access to a swimming pool via facilities, and in addition to any membership fees to access facilities, classes may cost extra. Although aquatic exercise greatly reduces the risk of injury, it is typically seen that not as many calories are burned as would be in some other activities. [7] Though aquatic activities in general expend more energy than many land-based activities performed at the same pace due to the increased resistance of water, the speed with which movements can be performed is greatly reduced. [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

Swimming Self propulsion of a person through water

Swimming is the self-propulsion of a person through water, or other liquid, usually for recreation, sport, exercise, or survival. Locomotion is achieved through coordinated movement of the limbs and the body to achieve hydrodynamic thrust which results in directional motion. Humans can hold their breath underwater and undertake rudimentary locomotive swimming within weeks of birth, as a survival response.

Exercise Bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness

Exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness.

Aerobic exercise Low to high intensity physical exercise

Aerobic exercise is physical exercise of low to high intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process. "Aerobic" is defined as "relating to, involving, or requiring oxygen", and refers to the use of oxygen to meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism adequately. Aerobic exercise is performed by repeating sequences of light-to-moderate intensity activities for extended periods of time. Aerobic exercise may be better referred to as "solely aerobic", as it is designed to be low-intensity enough that all carbohydrates are aerobically turned into energy via mitochondrial ATP production. Mitochondria are organelles that rely on oxygen for the metabolism of carbs, proteins, and fats.

Physical fitness State of health and well-being

Physical fitness is a state of health and well-being and, more specifically, the ability to perform aspects of sports, occupations and daily activities. Physical fitness is generally achieved through proper nutrition, moderate-vigorous physical exercise, and sufficient rest along with a formal recovery plan.

Indoor cycling, often called spinning, is a form of exercise with classes focusing on endurance, strength, intervals, high intensity and recovery, and involves using a special stationary exercise bicycle with a weighted flywheel in a classroom setting. When people took cycling indoors in the late 19th century, whether for reasons of weather or convenience, technology created faster, more compact and efficient machines over time. The first iterations of the stationary bike ranged from strange contraptions like the Gymnasticon to regular bicycles placed atop rollers.

Strength training Performance of physical exercises designed to improve strength

Strength training or resistance training involves the performance of physical exercises that are designed to improve strength and endurance. It is often associated with the lifting of weights. It can also incorporate a variety of training techniques such as calisthenics, isometrics, and plyometrics.

High-intensity interval training Exercise strategy

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a training protocol alternating short periods of intense or explosive anaerobic exercise with brief recovery periods until the point of exhaustion, which thereby relies on "the anaerobic energy releasing system almost maximally." The method involves exercises performed in repeated quick bursts at maximum or near maximal effort with periods of rest or low activity between bouts. The very high level of intensity, the interval duration and number of bouts distinguish it from aerobic (cardiovascular) activity, because the body significantly recruits anaerobic energy systems. Although there are varying forms of HIIT-style workouts which may involve exercises associated with both cardiovascular activity and also resistance training, HIIT's crucial features of maximal effort, duration, and short rest periods materially differentiate it from being considered a form of cardiovascular exercise. Though there is no universal HIIT session duration, a HIIT workout typically lasts under 30 minutes in total as it uses the anaerobic energy systems which are typically used for short, sharp bursts. The times vary, based on a participant's current fitness level. Traditional HIIT initially had been designed to be no longer than 20 seconds on with no more than 10 seconds off; however intervals of exercise effort tend to range from 20 to 45 seconds but no longer than 75 seconds, at which point the aerobic system would then kick in.

Aerobic conditioning is a process whereby the heart and lungs are trained to pump blood more efficiently, allowing more oxygen to be delivered to muscles and organs.

Physical activity Any voluntarily bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles and requires energy expenditure

Physical activity is defined as any voluntary bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. Physical activity encompasses all activities, at any intensity, performed during any time of day or night. It includes both exercise and incidental activity integrated into daily routine. This integrated activity may not be planned, structured, repetitive or purposeful for the improvement of fitness, and may include activities such as walking to the local shop, cleaning, working, active transport etc. Lack of physical activity is associated with a range of negative health outcomes, whereas increased physical activity can improve physical and mental health, as well as cognitive and cardiovascular health. There are at least eight investments that work to increase population-level physical activity, including whole-of-school programmes, active transport, active urban design, healthcare, public education and mass media, sport for all, workplaces and community-wide programmes. Physical activity increases energy expenditure and is a key regulator in controlling body weight.

Interval training is a type of training exercise that involves a series of high-intensity workouts interspersed with rest or relief periods. The high-intensity periods are typically at or close to anaerobic exercise, while the recovery periods involve activity of lower intensity. Varying the intensity of effort exercises the heart muscle, providing a cardiovascular workout, improving aerobic capacity and permitting the person to exercise for longer and/or at more intense levels.

General fitness training works towards broad goals of overall health and well-being, rather than narrow goals of sport competition, larger muscles or concerns over appearance. A regular moderate workout regimen and healthy diet can improve general appearance markers of good health such as muscle tone, healthy skin, hair and nails, while preventing age or lifestyle-related reductions in health and the series of heart and organ failures that accompany inactivity and poor diet.

Sports nutrition Study and practice of nutrition to improve performance

Sports nutrition is the study and practice of nutrition and diet with regards to improving anyone's athletic performance. Nutrition is an important part of many sports training regimens, being popular in strength sports and endurance sports. Sports nutrition focuses its studies on the type, as well as the quantity of fluids and food taken by an athlete. In addition, it deals with the consumption of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, supplements and organic substances that include carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Health club Place which houses exercise equipment for the purpose of physical exercise

A health club is a place that houses exercise equipment for the purpose of physical exercise.

Outline of exercise Overview of and topical guide to exercise

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to exercise:

Bodyweight exercise

Bodyweight exercises are strength-training exercises that use an individual's own weight to provide resistance against gravity. Bodyweight exercises can enhance a range of biomotor abilities including strength, power, endurance, speed, flexibility, coordination and balance. Such strength training has become more popular among recreational and professional athletes. Bodyweight training uses simple abilities like pushing, pulling, squatting, bending, twisting and balancing. Movements such as the push-up, the pull-up, and the sit-up are among the most common bodyweight exercises.

Aquatic therapy refers to treatments and exercises performed in water for relaxation, fitness, physical rehabilitation, and other therapeutic benefit. Typically a qualified aquatic therapist gives constant attendance to a person receiving treatment in a heated therapy pool. Aquatic therapy techniques include Ai Chi, Aqua Running, Bad Ragaz Ring Method, Burdenko Method, Halliwick, Watsu, and other aquatic bodywork forms. Therapeutic applications include neurological disorders, spine pain, musculoskeletal pain, postoperative orthopedic rehabilitation, pediatric disabilities, and pressure ulcers.

Exercise prescription commonly refers to the specific plan of fitness-related activities that are designed for a specified purpose, which is often developed by a fitness or rehabilitation specialist for the client or patient. Due to the specific and unique needs and interests of the client/patient, the goal of exercise prescription should be focused on motivation and customization, thus making achieving goals more likely to become successful. Exercise prescription should take into account the patient's medical history, and a pre-examination of a patient's physical fitness to make sure a person has the capacity to perform the exercises.

Zumba Exercise program

Zumba is a fitness program that involves cardio and Latin-inspired dance. It was founded by Colombian dancer and choreographer Beto Pérez in 2001, and by 2012, it called itself the largest international branded fitness program in the world. Zumba is a trademark owned by Zumba Fitness, LLC.


Hydrogymnastics is a water-based therapeutic exercise. As its name suggests, this form of aquatic therapy or aquatic rehabilitation is performed in water, and it can take place in swimming pools at aquatic leisure centres and/or in home pools. Being a form of aquatic therapy, hydrogymnastics aims to improve the physical and psychological health and well-being of an individual. Hydrogymnastics can be performed by anyone, including youths, middle-aged people, the elderly, athletes and those with disabilities. Hydrogymnastics is often assisted by a qualified aquatic therapist and/or exercise physiologist. Although the effects of hydrogymnastics may vary between individuals belonging to different age groups and genders, hydrogymnastics mainly improves one's cardiovascular fitness, strength, balance and mobility.

Though people often use physical activity and exercise interchangeably, the terms have different definitions. “Physical activity” refers to any body movement that burns calories, whether it’s for work or play, daily chores, or the daily commute. “Exercise,” a subcategory of physical activity, refers to -planned, structured, and repetitive- activities aimed at improving physical fitness and health. Exercise is a bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. Physical activity is number one most common health issue in the world. Staying physically active can help prevent or delay certain diseases, including some cancers, heart disease and diabetes, and also relieve depression and improve mood.


  1. 1 2 Moreno, B. (1996). "Making a Splash".{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)[ full citation needed ]
  2. 1 2 White, Martha (1995). Water exercise . Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. ISBN   0-87322-726-3.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018). "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition". health.gov. Retrieved 2021-11-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. Piotrowska-Calka, E.E. (2010). "EFFECTS OF A 24-WEEK DEEP WATER AEROBIC TRAINING PROGRAM ON CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS". Biology of Sport . Retrieved 2013-11-10.
  5. Duxbury, Andrew (2006-02-28). "Water Fitness". About.com . Retrieved 2008-01-07.
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