Water polo looks graceful above water, but under the surface, it is demanding. You kick continuously to stay afloat and propel yourself in the air. Competitors push and pull underwater, usually out of the view of referees.
Water polo is a form of aerobic exercise that takes exceptional conditioning and strength. You build heart and lung strength playing water polo, and use all your major muscle groups. Aerobic exercises burn calories because you engage your large muscles to move, and use energy to sustain motion. In addition, your cardiovascular system and breathing increase to provide energy, allowing you to exercise longer and burn more calories. In water polo, you race from one end of the pool to the other, and then summon the strength to intercept the ball or fling it, full force, at the goal.
The number of calories you burn playing water polo depends on how much you weigh and how long you participate. NutriStrategy's online calorie-use chart indicates that you burn 590 calories per hour if you weigh 130 pounds. You burn 704 calories an hour if you weigh 155 pounds, and 817 calories if you weigh 180.
Water polo matches have four quarters or periods, each lasting eight minutes. You participate in 32 minutes of intense action during a match, and burn calories during warm-ups and practice. Water polo burns about the same number of calories as fast freestyle swimming or doing the breaststroke.