Water Aerobics: Complete Guide for Beginners to Burn Calories

With summer just round the corner, do you ever get thoughts of ditching the sweaty workout at the gym and still be able to burn calories while splashing water in the pool? It’s time to cheer up, people; all your prayers have been answered. Water aerobics is now an actual thing. It can help you burn those extra calories while you splash and play with water in the swimming pool.

Water aerobics or aqua aerobics as we know it, is a cardiovascular workout generally performed in a rather shallow pool. It is a type of resistance training and no swimming is involved.

water aerobics

  • How does it work?

Buoyancy and resistance:

When you are exercise in a pool, you are subjected to 12-14 percent more resistance than in air. It is the buoyancy exerted by water which makes water aerobics different from regular aerobics.

This buoyancy and added resistance help you perform those exercises with ease which is otherwise difficult to be done on land. This results in an increase in the overall muscle activities which leads to a better toning of the muscles.

The gravitational pull:

If you’re wondering that water aerobics involves a lot of jargons of physics then you’re correct. It’s actually the physics involved which distinguishes aqua aerobics from other forms of land exercises.

Newton’s law of gravitation tells us that our body is pulled towards the earth by a force known as gravity. This gravity works on our muscles in a similar fashion while we work out in the air. In water, this gravity clubbed with water resistance, pull the muscles in two directions. Results? Better toned muscles overall.

  • Benefits of water aerobics

Practicing water aerobics regularly can reap a number of health benefits, some of which include:

1.Little or no impact on the joints:

The upward thrust experienced when in water makes you feel 90% lighter than your actual body weight. This in turn reduces the impact of the exercise on the joints and the stress on muscles, tendons and ligaments. You can actually run and jog in water without having to worry much about getting any jerks, pain or injuries.

2. Strengthening of muscles:

As already explained above, the resistance and gravity coupled together pull the muscles in different directions thereby greatly toning and strengthening them.  By introducing water yoga and water fitness equipment, you can further increase the water resistance for better results.

Must Read: How to Lose Arm Fat Quickly at Home

3. Boon for people with two left feet:

Feel shy to hit the gym for the aerobics session because you often tend to forget or not match the steps? Don’t you worry; water aerobics will come to your rescue. As most of the steps are performed underwater, nobody will know if you miss a step or two.

4. The calories burned in water aerobics:

An approximate calories burned in water aerobics is 400-500 calories for an hour long session. Though the number of calories burned will vary with your weight, size and the intensity of your workout. Added benefit: Water helps you stay cooler so, burn all these calories sweat-free!!

5. Water aerobics for weight loss:

All the shredded calories will translate into weight loss when coupled with a balanced diet.

6. Group activity as a motivating factor:

Group activities such as water aerobics may actually help you push that extra mile which you otherwise would have skipped while working out alone. Working in groups helps you stay motivated and perform better.

Other benefits are:

  1. Increased core and overall muscle strength
  2. Enhanced feeling of well-being
  3. Increased mobility and flexibility of joints
  4. Improved sleep
  5. Decreased feeling of tiredness
  6. Water creates a massing effect which soothes sore muscles and eases pain

And the best one: You need not know how to swim even when you’re working out in water!

  • Disadvantages of water aerobics:

  1. Though the risk of injury is reduced, lesser calories are burned for it being a low intensity workout when compared to high intensity land exercise.
  2. Due to increased resistance of water, the ease of movement in water is significantly reduced which causes less calories to be burned down.
  3. You will need to have an access to the swimming pool and water aerobics equipments in order to perform it.
  • Who can practice water aerobics?

Due to its low impact, aqua aerobics and yoga can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and with varying level of strength and fitness.

From elderly people to pregnant women to people suffering from arthritis, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, or other degenerative diseases, almost everybody can perform and be benefitted from it.

It is useful for injured athletes who cannot exercise on land or for people who find difficulty in lifting weights.

Check Out: Top 10 Best Exercises to Practise While at Work

Word of caution: It is always better to consult a doctor before commencing any form of exercise.

  • Things Needed

You’ll need a few equipments in order to get the best out of water aerobics or aqua aerobics. Below are the list of things that are necessary if not already available in your swimming pool.

Aqua Sports Shoes: A high quality sport shoes that support and give you a proper grip while doing water exercises is of utmost importance. This aqua sports shoes is the most popular one with rubber grip and dries of quickly.


Aqua Fitness Exercise Set: This set will help you with exercises apart from the Zumba, Cardio and other fun workouts.


Musiccccc: What’s a workout without a good music? This water aerobics workout music will make you want to do more, GUARANTEED.



Water aerobics exercises:

Let’s get started with the water aerobic exercises which you can perform in an hour of workout. You can choose to do a single one for entire session, or all the exercises mentioned below in small time range.

  • Walking for warm up:

In Shallow water:

Just like in any other form of workout, you should kick off your aquatic exercises with a warm up. Simple walking in water is a good way to commence the workout. Walking increases your heart rate and helps prevent sore muscles.

How to do it?

Walk for a good 1 to 3 minutes. Swing your arms back and forth exactly in the manner you would do while walking on the land. Make sure that your posture is right; tighten your core, keep your back straight and avoid walking on your tiptoes.

In deeper water:

As a beginner, you can walk in shallow water and once you get a hang of it, you can start waking in deeper water.

How to do it?

  1. Here also you need to swing your arms back and forth exactly in the manner you would do while walking on the land.
  2. Always maintain the right posture; tighten your core, keep your back straight and avoid walking on your tiptoes.
  3. Walk for 1-3 minutes.

Use a noodle between your legs. A pool noodle or a water log is a cylindrical piece of polyethylene foam. It helps you stay above the water and can used by people of all ages while swimming. Non-swimmers can wear a flotation vest or a float belt. Buy your best quality aqua noodle from Amazon.

pool noodles for water aerobics
An aqua noodle
  • Aqua jogging

aqua jogging
credit: athleticsweekly

For an intense workout you can also wear hand webs or other resistance equipments to increase the resistance. Alternatively, you can try jogging in water. Jog for a couple of minutes.

You might as well try High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) by alternating between walking and jogging for 1-2-1 minutes. H.I.I.T. is known to burn a greater number of calories in a short span. But you can always skip jogging if you lack stamina and get fatigued easily. 

  • Chaos cardio:

chaos cardio exercise water aerobics

For this, several currents are created in the pool and you have to run through them. Keep your abdominal muscles tight and don’t bend your back. As the core is majorly involved while performing this exercise, it strengthens your core and tones it beautifully. If you are an amateur, avoid performing chaos cardio.

How to do it?

All you have to do is run in a zigzag manner in the pool. This creates the currents in the pool and then run straight through those currents. You can club it with some low intensity cardio exercise for better results.

Exercise for the hands:

  • By using hand webs:

This exercise makes use of hand webs.

How to do it?

  1. Wearing hand webs, stand in still water with your arms on the side of the body and palms facing upward.
  2. Keeping your upper arms close to the body and fixed, bring your forearms to your elbow level.
  3. Then turn the direction such that your palms face towards the floor of the pool and go back to the initial position.
  4. Repeat this for 12-15 times and for 1-2 sets depending on your stamina level. This exercise works on your triceps and biceps making them stronger.
  • Hand exercise using water weights:

This exercise requires working out with water weights which are actually foam based weights.

How to do it?

  1. Gripping the water weights, stand in still water with your arms on the side of the body and palms facing upward.
  2. Keeping your upper arms close to the body and fixed, bring your forearms to your elbow level.
  3. Then turn the direction such that your palms face towards the floor of the pool and go back to the initial position.
  4. Repeat this for 12-15 times and for 1-2 sets, again, depending on your stamina level.

Exercise for the legs:

In this exercise, a noodle is tied in a knot around your foot or the shoe.

How to do it?

  1. Tie a noodle around the shoe or your ankle.
  2. Move to any edge of the pool and stand with your back facing the edge of the pool.
  3. Place your arms along the edge of the pool for added stability.
  4. Make sure that your thigh is parallel to the base of the pool on your foot is on the ground.
  5. Now, slowly raise your leg making a complete 90 degree angle with the base of the pool.
  6. Return to the initial position and alternate between both your legs for 12-15 times with each leg for 1-2 sets.
  7. This engages the lower abdominal region as well as your legs making them toned and strong. 
  • Pool Plank:

pool plan water exercises
It is an amazing exercise for the core and the fact that it is done under water makes it a whole lot easier for the people who do not have a strong upper body and can’t hold the posture for long. This is done using a noodle.

How to do it?

  1. Straighten up the noodle and let it float on water.
  2. Holding the noodle, raise your bodies in water until you float in a stable inclination.
  3. Make sure that your head is always out of the water.
  4. Keep yourself stable for 1-2 minutes.

This strengthens your core and gives you a flatter tummy.

  • Aqua Zumba:

aqua zumba

The idea of dancing in the water is enthralling. Aqua Zumba is just like regular Zumba which increases your heart rate and involves similar dance steps like reggaeton, merengue, cha-cha, salsa, and mambo.

The only distinction in aqua Zumba is that the movements are slower and exaggerated owing to the increased resistance of water and in order maintain stability inside the water. So, the tempo in the water reduces roughly by half as compared to the tempo out of water.

See the aqua Zumba video below to get an idea of how it works and so much fun it can be to keep your body fit.

Water aerobics routine:

It is recommended that you workout at least thrice a week and you can go up to working out six days a week. Take a day off and allow your body to recuperate itself.

Rest is important for enhanced performance while working out and for the damaged cells to repair themselves. Get a good 7-8 hours of sleep each day.

Dos and don’ts when practicing water aerobics:

  • Always wear a pair of special aqua-exercise shoes while working out. Shoes add resistance to your workout.
  • You can get dehydrated even when you’re working out in water hence; drink plenty of water before and after the workout.
  • Always wear a swimsuit.
  • Ask a couple of your friends to join you in. Laughing and doing such water exercises together is much more fun and motivating.
  • Choosing the right class is imperative. Discuss your health issues with the instructor and use his help to find the right class for you accordingly.
  • Swimmer or non-swimmer, it is essential to wear a life vest especially when exercising in deep water or while running.
  • Apply a generous amount of sun block before entering the pool.
  • The chlorine in water is not very friendly to your skin hence; take a shower as soon as you are done with your workout.

Recommended: 10+ Home Spa Ideas for Clear Glowing Flawless Skin

Your Call

There is a huge variety of exercises that can be performed inside the pool which increase your strength, stamina and flexibility. Just pick the ones you like from the above list and witness positive changes in your body. These water aerobics or water exercises are perfect to not only stay fit or lose weight, but also perfect to beat the summer heat. So healthy mortals, go and get yourselves signed up in an aqua gym or any pool around you and beat the heat while achieving that flaunt worthy beach body that you have always dreamt of!!


  1. Hi Priyanka,

    This was a great post about water aerobics.

    I used to maintain swimming pools for an upscale hotel that offered water aerobic classes for guests and for people who lived in the homes also located within the resort. Other than the fun the exercisers were having, the other 2 big things I noticed was: how diverse the ages & physical conditions of the class members; how committed the participants were.

    • Hi Edward,
      First things first, thank you so much for your kind words. We are more than glad that you took out time to go through the article and gave us an account of your personal experience with water aerobics. I second you. I reckon that’s the beauty of water aerobics that there’s no such age bar to be able to practise it. Anybody and everybody can do it. And the best part is, it’s so much fun and I guess, this is what makes everybody look forward to it all the time. We love to hear from our readers so, please keep writing to us. Cheers.

  2. Amazing job Priyanka! What an amazing guide to learn water aerobics 🙂 It sounds so cool and fun. I’ll check out for any zumba classes around me that are done in water.

    Thanks once again!

    • Hi Ruchi,
      Thank you so very much. You should absolutely sign up for a water aerobics class. Trust me, once you do, this will become the best part of your day. You’re absolutely right, it’s cool and fun. Please keep us updated regarding your experience at the Zumba class. Also, if you have any queries pertaining to health, you can always write in to us. Cheers.


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