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Water Aerobics - Water Exercise is NOT for Wimps!

Updated on October 4, 2015

Water exercise is THE best aerobic exercise available - bar none!

Read on and find out why!

Water Aerobics is Efficient

Water aerobics is an efficient exercise program. For every 10 minutes spent walking in the water, the amount of exertion is equal to over 20 minutes. Some have stated up to 3 times - 10 minutes in the water is equal to 30 minutes on land. Let's take the conservative route and say twice as efficient.

Seems remarkable and untrue? Let's stop and think about this. When you are exercising on land, you know you can increase your workout by adding resistance - adding the barbells, working out on the machines. Interestingly, the efficiency of the water is hidden - the resistance is the water!

Water Exercise Is Wise!  Photo courtesy of
Water Exercise Is Wise! Photo courtesy of

Still don't believe me? Here's what an expert has to say:

"Walking in water is double the workload of walking on land, if the same speed is maintained. Water provides twelve times the resistance of air. With the lungs submerged in the water, breathing is more difficult and strenuous, as the lungs must be inflated against pressure."

source: Aquatic Exercise Benefits Everyone!

The secret is out - the water is a wonderful place for fitness! The real benefits of water exercise have been a closely held secret until now! Water exercise is not for wimps! Water Exercise IS Wise! Swim fitness is beyond a therapy program. Swim fitness is beyond an exercise program used exclusively by your 73 year old grandmother.

Water Exercise is Low Impact

This is the only fact that people relate to - low impact. Yes, swim fitness is low impact - wonderful for your joints and especially wonderful when you have an injury or a disabling disease such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. Water aerobics offers much more than just low impact exercise. Learn why!

"Water at neck level supports 90% of the body's weight; water at mid-torso level supports 75% of the body's weight, and water at waist level supports 50% of the body's weight. How deep the patient should be depends on their individual needs."

Water Exercise is Heart Happy

This is the most remarkable thing about water exercise. The moment you step into the swimming pool your heart rate drops by 10-15 beats per minute. No wonder water exercise feels fun - it is fun to your heart!

The old adage no pain no gain is not true in the water. Due to hydrostatic pressure your body loves to exercise in the water!

"During sub-maximal exercise, your heart rate will be about 10 to 15 beats per minute less in water up to your chest than on land when exercising at the same Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). At maximal exercise heart rate will be about 20 beats per minute lower than on land. Which means you are getting the same training effect with a lower heat rate. In addition, water helps keep you cooler educing heat build up, permitting your circulatory system to focus on getting blood to your working muscles instead of the skin for cooling."

source: Exercise and Your Heart Rate

Even your resting heart rate is happier when you are in the water. You start your exercise program in the water 10-15 beats per minute lower.

"When working out in water, an exercisers heart rate will be lower, but the cardiovascular benefits will be the same as when working on land. This is due to two reasons. First, water dissipates body heat more effectively than air; therefore there is less stress on the body. Secondly, due to water's hydrostatic pressure and decreased gravity when in the water, blood flow is less stressful on the body, so it becomes easier for the body to pump blood back to the heart. Despite these factors, the cardiac output (CO) is the same as working on land."

source: Aquatic Exercise Benefits Everyone!

Exercise Exertion Zones

colorful chart in red, orange and yellow of exercise exertion zones
colorful chart in red, orange and yellow of exercise exertion zones | Source

Aerobic Means "With Oxygen"

Aerobic means "with oxygen", and refers to the use of oxygen in the body's metabolic or energy-generating process. Many types of exercise are aerobic - running, swimming, cycling, etc... Anaerobic on the other hand, means without air .

Aerobic exercise is physical exercise that seeks to improve the oxygen system including the heart and the lungs aka cardiovascular exercise.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

The benefits of aerobic exercise are well documented and widely known. It is recommended to achieve 30 minutes of aerobic exercise no less than 3 times a week. Moving large muscles in your body, brings more oxygen into your blood stream, expands your lungs and strengths your heart muscle.

Aerobic Exercise Benefits:

  • Maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood
  • Causes your heart to beat faster with more blood flow to your muscles and lungs.
  • Widens small blood vessels called capillaries to be able to deliver more oxygen to your muscles.
  • With the widen capillaries, your body can more readily cleanse away waste products such as lactic acid and carbon dioxide.
  • Endorphins (said to be a natural painkiller) are released creating a wonderful sense of well-being.

3 Reasons for Water Exercise

1.) Low Impact

2.) Efficient - 360 degrees of resistance

3.) Heart Happy - Resting Heart Rate Decreases by 15-18 bpm

Water Exercise is Not for Wimps!

Water exercise may feel wonderful, yet it is one of the best exercise programs for an aerobic exercise program - not just because it is low impact. Water exercise has been scientifically proven to be efficient and "heart happy" - great news for changing up your exercise program.

Fitness to be complete must have 5 ingredients. 3 parts exercise (cardiovascular, resistance training and stretching) 1 part proper nutrition and 1 part consistency.

Water exercise is the number one exercise for consistency.

Water exercise excels at aerobic exercise!

Increase your aerobic exercise options by adding water exercise to your fitness program today!

© 2010 Kelly A Burnett


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    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      3 years ago from United States

      Hi Kristen,

      The water is a wonderful environment - both for fun and rehab and also for exercise. So glad you have found this useful.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Awesome hub, Kelly. I've been doing low impact water aerobics for my back, twice a week, and Hydro Pilates which is medium impact, since March. Both give me a great workout in the mornings, twice a week. Voted up for useful!

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      Great insights! I completely agree.

      Empty pools make me so sad. The water is magical - our heart loves the water (our resting heart rate goes down 15-17 bmp), our joints love the water and the water is more efficient than land exercise. Three dynamite reasons to take your workout to the water!

      And you nailed it - the instructions are key. My goal is to have videos so everyone has a starting place. The instructors can take it to the next level with the coordination of the movements, motivation, etc...

      Thank you for your insights.

      While every empty swimming pool makes me sad, the hotels really bite! The most beautiful places in the world underutilized. Typically, a hotel keeps their swimming pool for full immersion so it is too cold for those of us not able to swim laps (less than 5% of the populace can swim more than 3 laps) and many of us aging baby boomers need warmer water for health reasons.

      The swimming pool is the best amenity a hotel can offer and it is their largest asset they are not capitalizing upon!

      Thank you for sharing your wisdom - greatly appreciate your insights.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hey Gma, I LOVE water aerobics. I see so many empty pools in subdivisions and think, wow, they could use an aerobics class. Or I see swimming pools with kids just splashing around obnoxiously and I think to myself, wow, they could user a water aerobics program. But Gma, where are the instructors?


    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      I just wish more people would try it! The intensity level can be customized. And yet as akirchner stated you cannot feel it - your heart rate is lower and yet you are working like crazy and staying cool and having fun!

    • Ladybird33 profile image


      8 years ago from Fabulous USA

      Wonderful hub, it's hard, I know, I have tried it (several times). Thanks for sharing!

    • breakfastpop profile image


      8 years ago

      Terrific hub. All I can say is I agree!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      That is so true - when I broke my leg, I had it in a splint and went for 6 weeks to water therapy - oh my gosh! I never HAD such a workout - the funny thing is you don't really 'feel' it as much because you are in the water but when I'd go to try and climb out of the pool, I'd feel it then and knew what I'd been doing. And it is so good for your bones and joints!

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Great point - many levels of intensity. Thank you for sharing and stopping by.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      8 years ago from Sydney

      I've recently started aquarobics and you're right, it's easy to write it off as for "oldies". In fact that's why I decided to try it - I'm in my fifties now and have dodgy knees - but the exercises can be done at many levels of intensity, and there are young women in my class who feel really challenged by the class, too.


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