Aqua Aerobic Classes (Are they worth it?)


a woman uses aqua dumbbells in an aqua aerobic classes

Aqua aerobic classes are a great way to keep fit while still enjoying the water. If you are tired of completing lap after lap, or just want to try something new, then joining an aqua aerobics exercise class is a wonderful way to work out while still getting into the pool.

Aqua aerobics classes are like regular aerobic exercise classes, but they take place in the water. You will do simple exercises such as jogging on the spot, high leg marching, jumping jacks and working with buoyance training aids, all while being in shallow to chest-deep water.

Joining an aqua aerobics class can be a little daunting if it is your first time. It is suitable for all ages and levels, however, and you will find yourself immersed in workout routines quickly.

In this article I will cover:

  • What is aqua aerobics?
  • Water depth for aqua aerobics
  • Is aqua aerobics good for losing weight?
  • Is aqua aerobics better than swimming?
  • How many times a week should you do aqua aerobics?
  • Can I do aqua aerobics if I can’t swim?
  • Are aqua aerobics classes worth it?
  • How much do aqua aerobic classes cost?
  • What do I need to get started with aqua aerobics?

What Is Aqua Aerobics?

Aqua aerobics is a form of aerobic exercise that uses water as resistance. The workout is done in a pool and incorporates both cardio and strength training exercises.

Just like a regular aerobic exercise class where a teacher demonstrates movements and the students follow along, typically an aqua aerobics teacher will demonstrate moves while standing on the pool deck and the students in the water follow.

Typically, there is music playing, so you can keep motivated and in time.

Water Depths For Aqua Aerobics

They can hold an aqua exercise class in varying depths of water and the depth of your class will depend on the depth of your local pool.

As a general rule, for general aqua aerobics classes, the water will be shallow enough so you can stand up. Generally, the water is chest high for most classes.

If the aqua aerobics class is “deep aqua” or “deep aqua aerobics“, then this type of aqua class is held in deep water. It is necessary to be a confident swimmer for deep water aqua aerobics. Although flotation devices are provided, you need to be able to swim in the event that your flotation device comes loose.

The following table shows the recommended water depths for aqua aerobics. This information is from the standards and guidelines provided by the Aquatic Exercise Association. [source]

Aqua Aerobics TypeWater Depths
Shallow Water Aqua Fitness Classes3.5-4.5 feet (1.07-1.37 meters)
Deep Water Aqua Fitness Classes6.5 feet (1.98 meters) Minimum
This Table Shows The Water Depths For Aqua Aerobics Exercise Classes

Is Aqua Aerobics Good For Losing Weight?

Aqua aerobics is good for losing weight, with participants burning between 150 to 250 calories per hour, depending on the intensity of the exercise and their current body mass. [source]

I stayed away from aqua aerobics for years, as from the pool deck it looked like an easy workout with little sweat. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

The resistance the water offers to the body gives your muscles a full-body workout. Even if you take part in an aqua aerobics class and do not push yourself too hard, you will still feel that your muscles have worked.

The following factors will determine how many calories you will burn during an aqua aerobics class:

  • Current Weight: Heavier bodies burn more calories, as there is more mass to move.
  • Intensity Level: The greater the effort you exert, the more calories you burn.
  • Length Of Exercise: The longer you work out, the more calories you will burn.

The following table shows an estimate of how many calories you could burn while taking part in an aerobics class, given your weight, duration of exercise and exercise intensity level.

Weight (lbs)Duration (minutes)ExerciseIntensity LevelCalories Burned
16060Water AerobicsHigh244
19060Water AerobicsHigh290
This Table Shows How Many Calories You Can Burn With An Aerobics Fitness Class

For a more comprehensive weight loss table and guide, I have covered the impact of aqua aerobics on weight loss in much greater detail in this article, Is Water Aerobics Good For Weight Loss? (What to know)

Is Aqua Aerobics Better Than Swimming?

How aqua aerobics compares to swimming and which one could be considered better depends on your personal goals and preferences.

A person who weighs 160lbs will burn 366 calories per hour approximately swimming and 244 calories per hour with water aerobics, however if you swim leisurely, and your goal is weight loss, then joining an aqua aerobics class could burn more calories per hour if you tend to swim gently and not stick to a regular 45 minute swim.

I find it is very easy to slow down, relax and chat with other swimmers while swimming. With an aqua aerobics class, you need to follow along with the teacher, so it is a great way to keep the pace up for your duration of pool time so you could burn more calories overall.

Joining an aqua class also gives you a time and place to be in the pool. As a leisurely swimmer, you need to be self-motivated to get in the pool, and it is easy to skip days. With aqua aerobics, you can get booked in and then you will have the extra incentive to turn up and work out.

If you are an advanced and fast-paced swimmer who loves their laps, it is very difficult to compare to an aqua aerobics class.

At the end of the day, it is about what you enjoy and which one you choose should be down to your own preference and lifestyle choices.

Personally, I like to mix in an aqua aerobics class once a week to give me time in the water, but not repeating lap after lap.

How Many Times A Week Should You Do Aqua Aerobics?

How often you complete an aqua aerobics class will depend on your fitness and recovery rate. At least once a week is a great place to start for beginners, working up to 3 times a week if time allows.

Research has shown that completing aqua aerobics twice per week for a 12 week duration is most effective at seeing fitness results. [source]

Aqua aerobics can be addictive and I know people who attend classes at least three times a week and more if they are available.

One significant aspect of aqua aerobics is the social side, as it is a good way to meet with others and chat. Many people are unsure of themselves in the water, so eager to make friends.

Listen to your body and allow enough rest and recovery time between workout sessions so you are healthy and can maintain your stamina.

To learn more about recovery after exercise, I have covered this in greater depth in this article, “Should I Swim On A Rest Day?”

Can I Do Aqua Aerobics If I Can’t Swim?

It is fine to do shallow water aqua aerobics if you cannot swim as the water is between waist and chest deep, therefore you can stand up while taking part in the class.

For deep water aqua aerobics, it is necessary to be water confident and know how to swim as the class will take place in deep water.

Typically, deep water aqua aerobics has the name “deep aqua” in the class’s name to let participants know that this will be deep water.

For all other aqua aerobic classes it is safe to assume that they will take place in shallow water, but contact your local class before attending to confirm if you are concerned.

All good fitness centres will be happy to advise you on the level of water confidence needed for their classes.

Are Aqua Aerobic Classes Worth It?

Aqua aerobic classes are a great way to keep fit while enjoying the water. Aqua aerobic classes are usually fun, energetic, and sociable and give you a fantastic full-body workout.

Benefits Of Aqua Aerobics

Aqua aerobics classes offer several benefits, including:

1. Cardio Workout

Aqua aerobics is a great way to get a cardio workout without putting stress on your joints.

2. Burns Calories

The water resistance provides a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories.

3. Strength Training

Aqua aerobics classes often incorporate strength-training exercises into the routine. This can help to tone your muscles and improve your overall fitness level.

4. Sociable

Aqua aerobics classes are also a great way to meet new people. If you are new to the area or are looking for a workout buddy, joining an aqua aerobics class is a great way to meet like-minded people.

5. Low Impact

Aqua aerobics is often recommended for those who are rehabilitating an injury, as the water can help to reduce pain and swelling. The water can also provide a low-impact workout, which is ideal for those who are new to exercise or have joint issues.

6. Suitable For All Abilities

Shallow water aqua aerobics is suitable for all ages and ability levels. You can take the class at your own pace and make the exercises as intense or as gentle as you desire.

For those who want to maximise their pool time but not swim every day, it is a fun and excellent way to maintain a pool routine without having to swim laps.

I love aqua aerobics as the pool water helps regulate my temperature, so I don’t leave the exercise class all sweaty. It is important to note, however, that you will sweat when taking part in an aqua aerobics class so ensure you drink plenty of water.

I have covered the topic of staying hydrated while taking part in pool activities in greater detail in this article, Do Swimmers Sweat? (Explained)

How Much Do Aqua Aerobic Classes Cost?

Aqua aerobic classes cost between £4.50 to £6.00 for a public class in the UK. With pool gym memberships, aqua aerobic classes are often included as part of the membership fee.

Welcome to Eve Pacific Health #shor...
Welcome to Eve Pacific Health #shorts

What Do I Need To Get Started With Aqua Aerobics?

To start a public aqua aerobics class, you just need your swimming suit and a bottle of water.

They typically provide all equipment for public pool aqua aerobic classes so there is no need to purchase your own.

It is very unlikely that you will need goggles, as most of the workouts involve keeping your head above the water. If you do need goggles or if they are recommended, they should state this as part of the class description.

Some of the equipment you can expect to encounter as part of your swimming class includes:

If you really love your aqua aerobic workout and want to continue working on it in your spare time outside of class, it is possible to buy this equipment for personal training.

If you would like some pool exercises for non-swimmers or just for aqua fitness, check out this article which covers the topic in much greater detail, “Pool Exercises For Non-Swimmers (A Full Guide)”

Final Thoughts

Aqua aerobic classes are a great way to get in a cardio workout, burn calories, tone your muscles and meet new people.

The classes are low impact and suitable for all ages and abilities. Prices for the classes vary depending on the location but typically cost between £4.50 to £6.00 per class.

For swimmers, it is a great option to continue to work out in the pool while taking a break from lap swimming.

All you need to take part is your swimming suit and water bottle.

Happy swimming!

Louise Byrne

Hi, I am Louise and I am obsessed with swimming. I spend my free time in the water or getting ready for my next water adventure.

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