What Is Deep Water Aqua Aerobics? (Explained)


a deep water aqua class works out using floats

Deep water aqua aerobics is a great way to get in shape and stay healthy. I tried my first deep water aqua aerobics class earlier this year and since then I have been hooked.

Deep water aqua aerobics is an exercise class that is held in deep water. As part of a deep water aqua aerobics class, you will complete movements and exercises while floating in deep water. Floatation devices are usually provided.

I love deep water aqua aerobics as it is a wonderful way to enjoy the deep water while working at an intensity level that suits you. You can work as hard as you want, or just paddle.

I was very nervous about my first deep water aqua class and want to share my experience and what I learned. I wish I had started sooner!

In this article I will cover:

  • What is deep water aqua aerobics?
  • How does deep water aerobics work?
  • How deep is the water for deep water aqua aerobics?
  • Is deep water aerobics a good workout?
  • Is deep water aerobics good for weight loss?
  • What are the benefits of deep water aerobics?
  • Is deep water aerobics suitable for everyone?
  • Is shallow or deep water aerobics better?
  • What equipment do I need for a deep water aerobics class?
  • Personal tips for deep water aerobic beginners

What Is Deep Water Aqua Aerobics?

Deep water aqua aerobics is a type of water-based exercise that is done in deep water. Like the vast majority of exercise classes where students follow along and copy a routine demonstrated by the teacher, deep water aqua aerobics comprises a workout routine performed in deep water.

The Aquatics Exercise Association (AEA), which is an organisation that promotes water fitness worldwide, suggests that a pool depth of 6.5 feet (1.98m) provides the ideal environment for deep water aqua aerobics. [source]

According to the Aquatics Exercise Association (AEA), you want the body to be suspended vertically with full freedom of movement and no weight-bearing stress or impact, therefore a pool depth of at least 6.5 feet (1.98m) will ensure that the vast majority of the population can experience this.

How Does Deep Water Aerobics Work?

The format of a deep water aerobics class is very similar to land-based group exercise classes.

A teacher will stand on the pool deck, demonstrating exercises and movements while the students in the deep water follow along and try to copy the movements.

Deep water aerobics classes typically have music, so it often feels like you are dancing in the water, which is a wonderful feeling.

The music is fast and upbeat (between 115 and 130 beats per minute depending on the class) so you will feel motivated and energetic.

Of course, being submerged you cannot keep up with fast music on the beat as the resistance from the water is too great, so typically you will move on every second beat of the song, so you feel you are dancing along, just at half tempo.

For deep water aqua aerobics, they typically use flotation devices even if you are a strong swimmer. It is very difficult to tread water for a long period and as most classes are between 30 – 45 minutes; we need a flotation device to stay buoyant and keep up with the class.

The Aquatics Exercise Association (AEA) recommends a flotation device attached to the trunk of the body (usually a flotation belt around the waist) or attached to the upper arms.

All good deep water aerobics classes will provide this equipment as part of the class for safety, so it is unnecessary to bring your own unless told to do so.

How Deep Is the Water For Deep Water Aqua Aerobics?

As a general rule, the water depth for a deep water aqua aerobics class will be at least 6.5 feet. (1.98m).

The depth of the water depends on the pool, but the point of deep water aqua aerobics is to be suspended vertically with freedom of movement, so you will be out of your depth.

Currently, my deep water aqua aerobics class is held in water that is 12 feet (3.7m) deep, which feels very deep as I do have a fear of deep water which I have to keep under control.

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

To try deep water aqua aerobics, you need to know how to swim.

Although you are supplied with a flotation device, if the flotation device comes loose during the exercise, you will suddenly find yourself in deep water.

At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own safety and you have to ask yourself if the flotation device comes loose: can I swim to the edge of the pool?

All good deep water aqua aerobics classes will require that you are a confident swimmer before starting a deep water aerobics exercise class.

Is Deep Water Aerobics A Good Workout?

Deep water aqua aerobics is a great workout and is perfect for those who are looking for a low-impact exercise routine.

Even if you maintain moderate workout intensity and do not push too hard, you will still feel the burn on your muscles the next day.

The buoyancy of the water means that you are working against less resistance than you would be if you were performing the same exercises on land, so it is a great option if you are rehabilitating an injury.

As with any form of exercise, it is important to start slowly and build up gradually, so deep water aerobics is a perfect choice for those who are new to fitness or returning to exercise after a break.

Is Deep Water Aerobics Good For Weight Loss?

Deep water aerobics is an excellent workout for weight loss, with average calories burned between 300 to 500 calories per hour, depending on your current body weight and exercise intensity levels.

The following table shows how many calories you could burn with a one-hour aerobics class, given specific body weight.

Body Weight (lbs)Exercise DurationWorkout IntensityCalories Burned
150 (68)60 MinutesModerate496
180 (82)60 MinutesModerate598
200 (91)60 MinutesModerate664
220 (100)60 MinutesModerate730
240 (109)60 MinutesModerate795
This Table Shows Calories Burn Related To Weight

What Are The Benefits Of Deep Water Aerobics?

Some of the health benefits of deep water aerobics include: [source]

  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Increased muscle strength and tone
  • Improved joint mobility and flexibility.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved sleep quality

Is Deep Water Aerobics Suitable For Everyone?

Deep water aerobics is a great workout for your whole body, and the low-impact nature of the exercise means that it is suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

So, if you are looking for a workout that is gentle on your joints but still provides a challenging workout, deep water aerobics is the perfect choice for you.

If you are not a confident swimmer, then signing up for a regular aqua aerobics class is a great alternative as they typically hold these in shallow water. Therefore, knowing how to swim is usually not a requirement.

If you would like to know more about shallow water aqua aerobics, I have covered this in greater detail in this article, “Aqua Aerobic Classes (Are they worth it?)”

Is Shallow Or Deep Water Aerobics Better?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best type of water aerobics depends on your own fitness levels and personal preferences.

Shallow water aerobics is a great option if you are new to fitness or returning to exercise after a break, as it is a low-impact exercise routine that is gentle on your joints.

Deep water aerobics is also an excellent workout and is perfect for those who are looking for a low-impact exercise routine.

The buoyancy of the water means that you are working against less resistance than you would be if you were performing the same exercises on land, so both shallow and deep water aqua aerobics is a great option if you are rehabilitating an injury or just want to tone up.

For deep water aerobics, it is generally required that you are a confident swimmer, which can be a barrier to entry for some.

As someone who has a fear of deep water, personally, I really enjoy deep water aqua aerobics as I can swim so can safely take part. Sitting calmly in a flotation belt helps me to become more comfortable in the deep water.

What Equipment Do I Need For A Deep Water Aerobics Class?

To take part in a deep water aqua aerobics class, you need just a swimming suit and a bottle of water.

As a general rule, the class teacher will provide deep water flotation devices and aqua equipment, so it is unnecessary to bring your own.

With time, if you feel you would like your own gear, you can purchase your own deep aqua gear and bring it to the pool for a workout.

The equipment used in a deep water aerobics exercise class includes:

If you are going to purchase your own deep water aqua aerobics gear, then I recommend that you also purchase a swimming mesh bag to carry it. Deep water equipment is fun, but is also very large and hard to carry!

Deep Water Aerobic Exercise Routines

Deep water aqua aerobic exercises are great fun. It’s good to know what to expect before joining a class.

Some deep water aerobic exercises include:

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  • Jogging on the spot
  • Kicking legs high
  • Marching on the spot
  • Using water dumbbells
  • Suspending legs
  • Scissor kicks

Here is a great deep water workout from Fitmotivation, which you can follow along with or take some inspiration from for your next pool session.

Personal Tips For Deep Water Aerobic Beginners

It took me a long time to pluck up the courage and join my local deep water aerobics class.

Here are some things I learned, which I hope make the entire experience less daunting for you.

1. It’s A Really Friendly Class

I have taken part in so many fitness classes over the years, but I have noticed a friendly and sociable atmosphere in deep aqua classes in particular.

I think that this is because so many people are unsure of themselves in deep water or in a swimsuit, so everyone feels a little exposed and looking for a friend.

2. The Equipment Confuses Everyone

As a beginner, there will be some fumbling when fitting your flotation belt. This confuses everyone at some point and there are always loads of people around who are willing to help as we have all been there.

3. The Floatation Belt Is Annoying

After a few minutes, you will most likely find that the flotation belt is either chaffing or floating up.

I have yet to find a hack to fix this, but everyone seems to have this problem. Just keep adjusting.

4. You Don’t Have To Be Perfect

I found the deep water exercises very difficult in my first class. I could not understand how everyone was keeping so balanced in the water.

Underneath the surface, however, most people are just doing their best. You do not have to be perfect, just getting familiar with the buoyance and balance is a great start for your first few sessions.

Every minute in the water is a workout, so do not stress if you cannot maintain a perfect workout routine.

5. Don’t Try To Stick To The Beat

Deep water aqua aerobics classes typically have music. At first, your instinct will be to stick to the beat and stay in sync with the music.

Because of the water resistance, it is nearly impossible to keep in time unless you have the stamina of a professional synchronised swimmer.

Instead, keep in time with every half beat.

Final Thoughts

Deep water aqua aerobics is a great workout that can be fun and social.

The equipment used in deep water aerobics classes can confuse you at first, but with time, you will get the hang of it. The best way to learn is to join a local class in your area.

As a beginner, don’t worry if you cannot maintain a perfect workout routine, as every minute in the pool counts!

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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