When you're standing outside of a pool, water aerobics may look like an easy workout. But hop into the water, grab a pool noodle and you'll quickly change your mind.
Water aerobics can be an excellent, low-impact workout to promote weight loss and overall health. Learn how many calories you can burn doing water aerobics and all the benefits this workout offers.
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Is Water Aerobics Good for Weight Loss?
Any form of exercise can help promote weight loss, including water aerobics. Aqua aerobics are a great form of cardio exercise and can burn some major calories, thanks to the resistance of the water (more on that below), according to Harvard Health Publishing.
How Many Calories Does Water Aerobics Burn?
As with running or strength training, you can lose weight doing water aerobics. Any time you're physically active, you burn calories. And in order to shed pounds, you need to be burning more calories than you ingest.
The amount of calories you burn during any kind of workout depends on a variety of factors, including your age, weight and fitness level. Generally, a half-hour of water aerobics can burn anywhere between 120 to 160 calories per half hour, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Use the chart below to get an idea of how many calories you can burn doing water aerobics.
Calories Burned in a Half-Hour of Water Aerobics
Water Exercises for Weight Loss
Aqua fit or water zumba classes are a great way to burn extra calories and enjoy a structured workout. But you don't need to pay for formal classes to get a good water aerobic workout. Next time you're in the pool, try these Mayo Clinic-approved water exercises.
Note: You can make each of these moves easier or more difficult. For a challenge, move to deeper water. Or, if you want an easier version, walk to the shallower end of the pool.
1. Deep-Water Walking
- Stand in the water at waist level, facing the opposite end of the pool.
- Place one foot in front of the other and walk at a brisk speed across the length of the pool, walking to the deeper end.
- As you walk, pump your arms at your sides like you're power walking.
- Then, turn around and walk back.
To make this exercise a little easier, you can place a pool noodle between your legs for some extra buoyancy. Or, for more of a challenge, add webbed gloves for extra resistance.
2. Water Arm Curls
- Stand in waist-high water with your arms at your sides, hand webs on.
- Twist your arms so your palms are facing away from your body.
- Keeping your elbows pinned to your sides, bend your elbows to 90 degrees, hands in front of you, fighting the resistance of the water.
- Slowly reverse the motion.
If you don't have hand webs available, you can use water dumbbells, too!
Hand Webs to Try
- WINOMO 1 Pair Webbed Swimming Gloves ($12.19, Amazon)
- Floor Set of 2 EVA Foam Dumbbells ($14.99, Amazon)
3. Pool Noodle Leg Extension
- Stand in waist-high water, holding the edges of the pool for extra stability.
- Tie a pool noodle around your right foot or water shoe.
- Straighten your right leg straight out in front of you.
- Fighting the resistance of the water, bend your knee to a 90-degree angle.
- Straighten your leg and repeat.
- Once you do all your reps here, switch legs.
More Benefits of Water Aerobics
1. It's Low-Impact
Alongside its calorie-burning benefits, water aerobics are easy on your joints. Although running can be a great cardio workout, hitting the pavement daily can put unwanted pressure on your bones, making you more prone to injury.
On the other hand, water aerobics put zero impact on your joints, while still offering an excellent cardio workout, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Water exercise won't reverse the affects of age-related loss of bone density but it is a good cardio option.
2. It Builds Strength
Another bonus of working out in water? There's built-in resistance, per Harvard Health Publishing.
Compare moving your arm on land and in water. Moving your arm under water is way harder. That's because water adds resistance to every movement, which helps build stronger muscles.
3. It's Great Cardio
You don't need to be on land to get a good, full-body cardio workout. Exercising in water helps strengthen your heart and improve your overall health, much like running or cycling.