Is Water Aerobics Good For Weight Loss? (What to know)

If you’re new to the world of water aerobics, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Is it really that much better than working out on dry land?

From the pool deck, water aerobics (also known as aqua aerobics) may look like a gentle exercise, but I have found it to be a good calorie burner and muscle toner, especially if you maintain a moderate to a high level of intensity.

On average, you can burn between 150 to 250 calories in a 45-minute water aerobics class. In order to see body composition improvements, research recommends completing two 45-minute water aerobics sessions per week, for 12 weeks.

Water aerobics offer a host of benefits that you simply can’t get from other forms of dry land exercise.

In this article, I will look at some of the most important benefits of water aerobics and how effective water aerobics is for weight loss, covering:

  • Is water aerobics good for weight loss?
  • How effective is water aerobics?
  • How many times a week should you do water aerobics?
  • What are the benefits of water aerobics?

Is Water Aerobics Good For Weight Loss?

Water aerobics has been proven to be effective at reducing fat mass, improving body composition and reducing blood pressure if completed twice a week over 12 weeks. [source]

Because water aerobics classes vary, and participants often exercise at different levels of intensity, it’s hard to determine how many calories you can burn doing water aerobics.

How many calories you burn during water aerobics depends on:

  • Duration of exercise
  • Exercise intensity
  • Current weight

To give you a better idea of how many calories you can burn doing water aerobics, the following table details the average calories burned doing water aerobics based on workout duration, workout intensity, and your current weight.

If you cannot find your weight on the table below, check out this helpful calculator that will estimate how many calories you can burn doing water aerobics for a more specific weight.

Weight (lbs)Workout IntensityWorkout DurationCalories Burned
110Moderate45 Minutes126
120Moderate45 Minutes137
130Moderate45 Minutes149
140Moderate45 Minutes160
150Moderate45 Minutes171
160Moderate45 Minutes183
170Moderate45 Minutes194
180Moderate45 Minutes206
190Moderate45 Minutes217
200Moderate45 Minutes229
210Moderate45 Minutes240
220Moderate45 Minutes251
230Moderate45 Minutes263
240Moderate45 Minutes274
250Moderate45 Minutes286
This Table Shows How Many Calories Water Aerobics Burn

How Effective Is Water Aerobics?

In 2018, a full study was completed that examined the effects of a 12-week water aerobics program, investigating the impact on health and fitness. [source]

The study comprised 15 volunteers who completed a 12-week water aerobics program, and 8 volunteers who did not complete any exercise at all.

The experiment comprised two 45-minute sessions of water aerobics, twice per week for 12 weeks.

At the end of the 12 weeks, they compared the volunteers who took part in the water aerobics with those volunteers who were instructed to do no exercise.

In conclusion, body changes which occurred in the water aerobics group included:

  • An increase in explosive strength in the upper limbs.
  • Significant decrease in fat mass, including a small decrease in the hip circumference.
  • Significant decrease in systolic blood pressure. 

Although the study found that water aerobics over this period was not enough to affect cardiorespiratory fitness and lipid profiles, water aerobics had a positive impact on explosive strength, body composition, and blood pressure. [source]

Not everyone benefits, however, and other research has found that short-term water aerobics, which is defined as an 8-12 week programme, did not benefit elderly women and those who are obese, in terms of weight reduction and body circumference measurements. [source]

On a positive note, longer water aerobics programmes (8 months) have been found to reduce hip and waist circumference measurements significantly in women 60-80 years and adults. [source]

In conclusion, water aerobics is very effective at improving your fitness and losing weight, however you need to work out at a good intensity level and length of time, twice per week. On average will not see improvements for 12 weeks, although some individuals have seen positive effects sooner.

How Many Times A Week Should You Do Water Aerobics?

Researchers cannot decide on which length of water aerobics programme is best, as everyone can see different results based on the duration of their workout, their current weight, and workout intensity level.

A minimum of two sessions per week, for a duration of 45 minutes, over 12 weeks is recommended as a general guide in order to see results.

The longer you spend in the water, the faster you will see results.

In addition, the intensity of the exercise is important. There is a significant difference in muscle exertion between a gentle movement and an explosive kick.

The great thing about water aerobics is that you are in control, therefore you can make the workout as intense or gentle as you feel is right for you.

What Are The Benefits Of Water Aerobics?

Some of the additional benefits of water aerobics include:

1. Water Aerobics Is Gentle On Your Joints.

Water aerobics is a low-impact sport.

If you have joint pain or other mobility issues, working out in the water can be a great way to stay active without exacerbating your symptoms. The water’s buoyancy takes some of the weight and stress off of your joints, making it possible to move them in ways that might be painful on dry land for those with mobility issues.

2. Water Aerobics Is A Fun Way To Lose Weight.

If you’re looking to shed a few pounds doing something sociable and fun, then water aerobics is a great option. An hourly session of water aerobics can burn upwards of 200 calories depending on your current weight and workout intensity level.

3. Water Aerobics Is Perfect For All Fitness Levels.

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a complete beginner, there’s a place for you in a water aerobics class.

The resistance provided by the water means that you can tailor your workout to meet your personal fitness needs and goals. If you’re just starting out, for example, you can focus on gentle movements and exercises that don’t require a lot of coordination.

As you become more fit, you can add in additional challenges like kicking or using floatation devices to increase the intensity of your workout.

Final Thoughts

Water aerobics is a great way to get in shape and lose weight, but the length and intensity of your workout will depend on your personal fitness level.

A good guideline is to do water aerobics for at least 45 minutes twice per week, over 12 weeks, to see results.

We should also take the intensity of the exercise into consideration – there is a significant difference between gentle movements and an explosive kick.

Researchers still cannot decide on which duration of the water aerobics programme is best, as everyone can see different results based on their own individual characteristics, so this 12-week duration recommendation is based on current findings by research as a good average. [source]

If you would like to learn more about water aerobics I have covered the wider details in much greater depth in this article,Aqua Aerobic Classes (Are they worth it?)“, which covers extra information from water depth, equipment used, to the swimming ability needed for water aerobics.

An alternative to water aerobics is deep water aerobics. This is similar to water aerobics but is completed in deep water. I have covered this in this article, “What Is Deep Water Aqua Aerobics? (Explained)”

Happy swimming!

Emma Moore

Hi, I am Emma, and I am obsessed with all watersports, from swimming to surfing and everything in between. I spend my free time in the water or preparing for my next water travel adventure.

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