This low-impact cardio workout is typically performed in a pool, and it can boost endurance, strength, and mobility.

When you think of water aerobics, your mind likely wanders to synchronized swimming—considering the finesse required for the latter, it's easy to feel like the former isn't for you. But according to Mindbody holistic wellness specialist Dani Schenone, RYT, ACSM-CPT, water aerobics is a low-impact cardio workout for just about everyone, regardless of ability or age.

Cardio in the Water

To best understand water aerobics, Schenone likes to break it down word by word. "The term 'aerobic' in a fitness setting means the exercise promotes any type of cardiovascular, or heart, conditioning," she says, noting that, like other fitness classes, water aerobics is typically led by a trained professional. And then there's the water component, which simply means the cardio workout is done in a pool. Because of this, Schenone says that all water aerobic movements are considered to be low impact, and focus on endurance and resistance training. "Most classes are 60 minutes long," she adds.

Woman Taking a Aerobic Fitness Class in the Pool
Credit: FatCamera / Getty Images

For All Ages

While this exercise type is most popular with elderly folks, Schenone says that it's an excellent choice for virtually all ages and fitness levels. "In my opinion, it is an underutilized mode of movement that can benefit almost all populations," she shares. The reason? Backed by Schenone, fitness experts at large, and ample research, water aerobics is incredibly beneficial for your cardiovascular health—especially if you have experienced or are at risk for an injury on land or simply prefer lower-impact motions. "If you haven't tried water aerobics because you think you're too advanced, think again," she says. "It's hard—and it's so beneficial to your body."

Endurance, Strength, and Flexibility

"Water aerobics lessens the stress exercise can have on our joints, ligaments, and muscles," Schenone explains. "Plus, the water not only keeps one cool, but it offers less strain on the heart by aiding in blood flow." As a result, those who have a compromised range of motion or easily overheat tend to do well with this format. "This is a great exercise for them to expand their reach," she adds. "Water aerobics helps one build endurance, strength, and even flexibility. And because it uses water to decrease gravity's pull, it's much easier to incorporate several muscle groups at one time, without burnout."

Indoors or Out

According to Schenone, most local pools have water aerobics exercise classes. "You can either practice indoors or outdoors, and if you have a pool at home, you can create and execute your own routine." Another alternative? You can use the Mindbody app to search for water aerobics group classes near you.


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