Water aerobics is a fun way for aging adults to stay active and fit. It’s also easier on your joints than doing a traditional gym workout and can even relieve nagging arthritis pain. If you’ve thought about taking a class but have held off on taking the plunge, then dive into this guide to find out more about water aerobics and the benefits of exercising in the pool.
What Are Water Aerobics?
Aerobic exercise is any type of exercise that gets your heart pumping—it’s also known as cardio exercise. Traditional aerobics like running, cycling, or jumping rope may impact joints and might be difficult if you have arthritis or other physical limitations.
Water aerobics, however, consists of low-impact exercises that you do in the shallow end of a swimming pool. They offer cardiovascular benefits—your heart will get pumping—but in a weightless aquatic environment.
What Can You Expect In a Class?
Classes typically take place in a group at a public indoor or outdoor swimming pool. Sessions usually last 45 minutes to an hour. The instructor will lead the group through a warm-up, followed by cardio and strength training exercises, then wrap up with a short cool-down.
Different classes accommodate different skill levels. If you’re a newbie, sign up for a beginner’s level session. As you progress, you can move up the ranks to gain advanced skills.
Keep in mind that you won’t swim during the class. You learn special strokes and swimming techniques in swim class. For water aerobics, you’ll do a series of movements/exercises in the shallow end of the pool, likely set to music as you follow along with your instructor.
What To Wear
You’ll need a swimsuit to do water aerobics. A one-piece bathing suit is usually a good style as it allows for more flexibility as you exercise. You’ll also want a bathing cap and a good pair of aquatic shoes that will protect your feet from the rough surface on the bottom of the pool. They will also provide more grip both in and out of the pool. You may also want to bring some towels and a swimsuit cover-up to ward off chills when you get out of the water.
Photo: kali9 via gettyimages.com
Benefits of Water Aerobics
Doing water aerobics has multiple health benefits. Exercising in water can strengthen your muscles and joints without putting stress on them. Plus, the water supports you while you move, allowing you to have a wider range of motion. You’ll get your heart rate up—and you may even still sweat—but the water will keep you cool and comfortable while you work out.
Even better, if you suffer joint pain such as arthritis, you may get some relief by moving around in the water. Any cardio helps improve heart health. It also burns calories and can help you lose weight. And, if you typically lead a more sedentary lifestyle, doing water aerobics is a fun and easy way to get moving.
Types of Water Exercises
Types of exercises will vary according to class skill level and your instructor’s program. Common water aerobics include aqua jogging or walking—during which you jog or walk in the water from one side of the pool to the other. Other popular exercises include flutter kicking—kicking your legs rapidly while holding onto a kickboard or the edge of the pool—leg lifts, water pushups, arm curls, and more.
Where To Find Water Aerobics Classes
Doing an online search for “water aerobics classes near me” will likely turn up a few options. Contacting your local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) center is a good place to start. Also, check local fitness centers that have a pool, the closest high school, physical therapy centers, athletic clubs, or community centers. Once you find a class location, be sure to read details about the course and the instructor to determine if the class is the right skill level for you.
Overall, doing aerobics in the water will strengthen your muscles, boost your endurance, and give a great, low-impact workout that doesn’t tax your joints and helps keep you healthy at any age.
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