You don't have to pound the pavement or hit the weights to burn a few calories and benefit from a good workout. The calories burned in water aerobics can match the amount you burn when walking, jogging or participating in a moderate circuit training or weight lifting session.
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On average, you can expect to burn between 120 and 178 calories in 30 minutes of water aerobics.
Calories Burned in Water Aerobics
The amount of calories you burn during exercise depends on a variety of factors, including body size and the intensity of the activity. With that in mind, it makes sense to talk about calories burned in water aerobics as a range. Harvard Health Publications gives an estimate of calories burned in aquafit for three different weights: 125 pounds, 155 pounds and 185 pounds.
A 125-pound person who participates in 30 minutes of water aerobics can burn around 120 calories. Tack on an additional 30 minutes, and you can burn 240 calories in one hour of water aerobics.
A 155-pound person can burn approximately 149 calories in 30 minutes and 298 in one hour of water aerobics. And a 185-pound person can expect to burn 178 calories in 30 minutes or 356 calories in one hour of water aerobics. While these numbers give you a place to start, it's important to remember that these are only estimates. The actual number of calories burned in aquafit will vary.
Read more: Water Aerobics Benefits
Get Started With Water Aerobics
If you're ready to get started with water aerobics, but you don't have access to an aquafit class, no problem. As long as you can get into the pool, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) says you can build your own aqua fitness class. For a 30-minute class, ACE recommends including cardio-wall work, cardio running, upper-body work and core exercises.
An aquafit class is already considered low-impact for your joints, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but you can increase the intensity and, consequently, the calorie burn by adding aqua tools geared toward aerobics classes.
Water exercise equipment such as hand-held water weights, aquatic swim belts, swim bars, fins, kickboards and swim ankle or wrist weights all have the potential to boost the calories burned in aquafit while still keeping the impact low.
While this form of exercise is easy on your joints, consider starting with a lighter weight and increase the poundage as your body adjusts to the resistance, especially if you're new to water aerobics.
Read more: List of Water Aerobics Exercises
General Exercise Guidelines
Although water aerobics is an excellent way to boost cardiovascular health and improve muscular endurance, it is only one part of an overall workout program.
To maximize the health benefits of exercise, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise as well as two days of resistance training that focuses on the major muscle groups in the body.
To boost the overall calorie burn for the week, consider increasing your cardiovascular exercise to 300 minutes a week. If you're trying to lose weight, the added amount of aerobic exercise each week can help you meet your weight loss goals.
Just remember that the safe amount of weight loss, according to the CDC, is no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week. Not only is this a reasonable amount to aim for, you're also more likely to maintain your weight loss over time.
- Harvard Heart Letter: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Health Benefits of Water-Based Exercise"
- American Council on Exercise: "Build Your Own Aqua Fitness Class"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Losing Weight"
- American Council on Exercise: Physical Activity Calorie Calculator