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What Is Aqua Zumba?

author image Rogue Parrish
An award-winning writer and editor, Rogue Parrish has worked at the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and at newspapers from England to Alaska. This world adventurer and travel book author, who graduates summa cum laude in journalism from the University of Maryland, specializes in travel and food -- as well as sports and fitness. She's also a property manager and writes on DIY projects.
What Is Aqua Zumba?
A group of people are participating in a water aerobics class. Photo Credit: american911/iStock/Getty Images

Zumba Fitness has taken the winning formula of Latin and international music beats for dance exercise and integrated them in a water-based workout. Aqua Zumba keeps the Zumba Fitness workout party going in the pool, led by instructors who have specialty licenses and often Aquatic Exercise Association certification.

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Dancing in the Water

Aqua Zumba is classic aqua aerobics with Latin flavor added, according to licensed Aqua Zumba instructor Vicky Asher of Timonium, Maryland. You perform large muscle movements by reaching your arms and lifting your legs in the water, as well as circling your hips and shoulders. Instructors receive quarterly DVD releases with new routines for their students. The typical land-based Zumba dance steps, such as cha-cha, merengue, salsa, reggaeton and mambo, need to be more exaggerated and slower in the water, so the water tempo is half the land tempo.

Target Students

Aqua Zumba is designed for anyone who can follow instructions and manage being in the water. Unlike regular water aerobics, which are linear exercises from one point to another, Aqua Zumba entails different movements for the verse, chorus and bridge of each song. Working out in the water can be appealing to someone who likes Zumba but doesn’t want to get as hot as in the land-based classes or needs a low-impact option.

Fun Choice with Little Impact

Aqua Zumba is also low-impact. Elderly dancers may prefer Aqua Zumba if there is no Zumba Gold for seniors at their gym or if they have had a hip or knee replacement. Asher recalls a Baltimore-area student recovering from a car accident who loved dancing and bought her crutches to the poolside. “She lay the crutches down, got in the water and got all the fun and flavor of the music without the impact on her feet."


Eighty to 90 percent of your body weight is displaced in the water when the water is at your chest level. Thus your knees, hips and back undergo less pounding when doing Aqua Zumba. At the same time, your muscles will work in different ways as you deal with the resistance of the water rather than gravity. For even more resistance, perform Aqua Zumba standing with the water at your collarbone level instead of at your chest.

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