What to Expect in a Water Aerobics Class and Why You Should Try It

If you’re looking for low-impact exercise you can do for decades to come, water aerobics may be just the workout for you. No matter your age or physical limitations, you can build muscle and endurance while cooling down in the pool. And when the weather turns cooler, you can take your workout to a heated indoor pool.

Water aerobics may be low-impact, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a tough workout. One of the best things about water aerobics is that it fits any skill level or age group. The exercise is great for elderly people, those with joint problems and chronic pain, and pregnant women. But water aerobics is also an amazing option for those without physical limitations.

Check out our guide to learn what to expect in water aerobics classes and how to vary the difficulty to meet your skill level. Get the skinny on typical water aerobics exercises, and find out where to sign up today.


water aerobics class

What to Expect

Most water aerobics classes take place at a public pool or private gym. They can be indoor or outdoor, depending on the season and climate where you live. Classes usually last one hour and are led by an instructor who stands outside of the pool to demonstrate exercises.

Class Structure

You’ll start the workout with warm-up moves, then build up to cardio and strength-training exercises. Water aerobics will get your heart rate going, and if you weren’t in the pool, you’d definitely be working up a sweat. But one of the perks of water aerobics is that you’re already in a cool environment, so you can stay more comfortable throughout the workout.

You Won’t Be Swimming

Note that water aerobics is not the same thing as swimming. While swimming requires proper technique, swim strokes, and learning to breathe correctly, water aerobics is done in the shallow end of the pool and focuses on moves that use the water as a gentle resistance to make the workout more effective.

Water Aerobics Moves

Water aerobics moves vary from instructor to instructor, but some exercises are common across any water aerobics class. You’ll likely be performing “water walking,” where you pump your arms and legs as if you were on a power walk. You might also do exercises common to other land workouts, including bicep curls, leg lifts, butt kicks, and jumping jacks. Add special water weights to increase resistance and difficulty of the workout. Pool noodles and kickboards can also be used to do different water aerobics exercises or make the moves easier.

Benefits of Water Aerobics

People choose to do water aerobics for a variety of reasons. The benefits of numerous, but here are just a few of the most popular reasons to try a water aerobics class:

1. Relieve Joint Pain

Exercises like running and weight lifting can increase likelihood of injury and irritation to knees and other joints. If you’re experiencing arthritis or other joint pain, you may have to take a break from other types of workouts. In contrast, water aerobics reduces joint pressure and is great therapy for joint problems.

2. Increase Flexibility

Having trouble pulling off those yoga and Pilates moves? Try water aerobics. The coordination required while doing water aerobics moves will help increase your flexibility and range of motion. As you push and pull through the resistance of the water, you’ll increase your ability to do more advanced exercises on land.

3. Build Endurance

Whether you’re looking to build endurance for swimming laps, running on the treadmill, or playing pickup basketball, water aerobics can help. The natural resistance of the water helps build stamina and strengthens muscles.

4. Burn Calories

Like any good workout, you’ll burn calories while you’re doing water aerobics. Most people can expect to shed anywhere from 200 to 400 calories in an hour-long water aerobics class, depending on their weight and fitness level.

5. Have Fun

Above all else, water aerobics is fun! You’ll love switching up your typical workout with an hour in the pool. Reduce stress and enjoy the meditative power of stroking through the water. Soon you won’t want to miss your regular water aerobics class.

Sign Up for Classes at SwimJim

If you’re looking to increase your comfort level in the water for your first water aerobics class, SwimJim can help. We offer swimming lessons for people of all ages and skill levels. Sign up for a class at SwimJim today.