Exercise spotlight: Water aerobics


Many of us want to be more physically active but problem hip, knee or other joints, as well as other health issues, make aerobics and other high-impact exercises out of the question which is the big attraction behind water aerobics.

Water aerobics and its deep-water, aqua cycling and water pole dancing varieties can be ideal for anyone who wants to get into shape or is recovering from an injury. Essentially a type of resistance training and aerobic endurance, water aerobics is a great way to incorporate strength training, which isn’t often part of out-of-water aerobics activity.

Here are 4 reasons water aerobics can be such a great activity:

  1. It works your heart, big-time: The secret to water aerobics may be that, while your heart rate won’t increase as much as regular aerobics, because you’re in the water, your heart is often working just as hard and actually pumping more blood.
  2. It works your entire body: Water resistance training, like water aerobics, activates opposing muscle groups for a balanced workout and the push and pull enhances muscle training while creating a safety barrier for your joints. Benefits can also include increased muscle strength, posture and balance, as well as improved mobility and endurance. And for older women, it can help improve or maintain bone health.
  3. It works your mind: Exercise in warm water can decrease depression and anxiety and improve your mood.
  4. It’s low-impact: Thanks to lower gravity in the water, the elderly or anyone living with arthritis, osteoporosis or weak joints can benefit without the potential negative side effects of aerobics on land.
  5. It’s fun! People tend to enjoy exercising in the water more than they do on land and you get to splash your friends!

Ready to try water aerobics? Google pools in your area to see which ones offer classes and, as always, speak to your doctor first before attempting any strenuous exercise. And remember, share your own experiences and healthy activity suggestions with other members in the Shop Talk Blog community forum!



Did you know? Pregnant with back pain?

If you have a baby on the way, water aerobics has been shown to reduce lower back or pelvic pain as well as sick leave due to back pain. Ask your OB-GYN if you should try it out! (Source)

62 thoughts on “Exercise spotlight: Water aerobics

    1. Yes me too love to walk and swim not jog though too dangerous on the ankles twist easy though I am a young mother of four not much time to do so.

    2. I go to the warm water exercises 3x a week. I am a 63 year old woman. I have been going for a year now. It has really helped me a lot. I had back surgery in Oct 2014 and I still have problems with my leg and my joints. I look forward to going and I’ve made new friends and we go out for coffee afterwards.

  1. I have been a devotee of water aerobics for years.I am 82, seven years with PD and get to the pool 5 days a week.Lousy for my skin ,but great every other way.

  2. I am a 78 years young and until last year I taught Aquafit 9 times a week.
    It was wonderful and I sure miss it now.

  3. I have been attending water aerobics for at least 10 years,beat thing I have ever done for myself. excellent for your heart and body,mind.Enjoy it so much,I now teach water aerobics in florida for 6 months of the year. (76)

  4. I did water aerobics for awhile when I was younger and loved it but I moved to Quebec haven’t tried it as yet you are right it’s wonderful

  5. I do not know of any women who are named “Walter”. So why do you insist on sending me communications like this one which is clearly directed towards women. I might enjoy splashing around in a pool with a bevy of lovely ladies as pictured in your ad, but they might think otherwise.

    By the same token, when are you going to stop sending me ads for women’s sanitary products, lipstick, cleansing creams, diapers or baby foods – I am an 87 year old widower not likely to produce any more offspring and I have never used lipstick in my life.

  6. I’ve loved swimming my whole life and now that I’ve joined the 50+ club, this year I invested in a pool of my own. I make a point of doing a minimum 30 minute aerobic workout every day after work. I love it!

  7. I have attend aqua fit for years at my local community centre. Mostly women but as of late we have 4 males…one has been attending with his wife for years. We draw from quite a distance and some people drive pass their local pool as the program has been so much more going for it in our town. Some drive 45 minutes to come to the class which are Monday thru Friday at 830am and Monday & Wednesday and used to be also Friday at 100pm. Monday & Wednesday each have an evening class at 730. Each class is booked as 40 minutes but sometimes we get more time and always the rest of the hour to do our own thing, like talk or workout. During the normal year, they also offer Aqua Jog on Tuesday & Thursday mornings at 930am …during the summer programs can change slightly…..Come on out & join in the fun of water exercise!

  8. This is the best way to get fit. I lose 125 pounds doing this three times a week for one hour. I have problem with my legs, doing this it helps my to get around easier. Pain is forgotten for while. I wish people who have health problems,go swimming because you can change your life forever

  9. Have been doing both shallow and deep water aerobics for years. Has help me to maintain my weight and tone the muscles without the pain. Best exercise for all ages.

  10. Have been doing aquatics for twelve years. The very best days are those of classes. Our oldest participant is 95 years of age and she refuses to use the stairs into the pool. She uses the ladder. She is our mentor– if Lillian can do it so can I!!

  11. I was wondering if you could suggest water exercises to do in the water and maybe a picture of it

    Thank You Eleanor

  12. After having spinal Meningitis when I was 58, I looked to find an exercise that would give me back my mobility, and ease the joint pains I was left with. I started Aqua Size and have never looked back….love it, love it, love it. Today I have complete mobility, strength and stamina and I contribute it to water aerobics!!

  13. I have done water aerobics’ right up until they closed our pool in Sylvan Lake I hope they get it fixed and up and running soon I would love to go back I do know of the benefits.

  14. I am turning 53 this year and have a host of physical ailments from arthritis to Fibromyalgia. I love taking water aerobics. It’s great overall conditioning without the wear and tear on my joints muscles and tendons.

  15. After years of repetitive strain injuries from work I joined a senior aqua class best thing I ever did for myself surpassed any therapy/med they sent me to.(7 years) was feeling healthy then slacked….. then the years past by and after going thru a cancer spell . This meant I really had to fight my way back to strengthen myself.
    first tried treadmill that was a no no. Then tried the pilates table that TSC it was a great start for strengthening the core (5 months) then I’m pleased to say I was strong enough to do the aqua classes.(1 year) Since then i have added zomba,
    bodyworks(two styles) and a barre class but I owe it all to aqua that gave me the happiness to exercise . I thank all the aqua instructors out there!!!

  16. I turned 84 a couple of weeks ago, am walking-impaired and a regular at our outdoor pool, aqua jogging half-an-hour almost every day. Sadly, they’ll close soon for the season. Can’t wait for next year!

  17. I do water aerobics 3 times per week and feel my fitness level has improved. I love it and the people I have met.

  18. Been doing aquatic fit for 3 years have had both hips done and have improved in walking and strength bones have gotten a lot stronger so they say

  19. I joined Specialty Aquarobics 2 years ago out our local Civic centre, and I love it.. I have Spinal Stenosis plus Rhumatoid arthritis. I am 66 years young, and never felt better in my life.. I lost my husband to cancer and i lived in the country where there was no classes there or too far away for me to go.. I use a walker, which is my buddy, as I can walk allover with it and not feel the pressure in my back. The first time I went to Aquarobics I could not believe i was walking around in the pool and not feeling pain, and i was hooked. Our season is from the end of September to April, with 2 weeks break in January. I would encourage everyone who has problems like i do to join it as it keeps you fit , and you can do things that you would never be able to do on land, and i meet such a wonderful group of people of the same age or older… Good luck to those who have read this, and if it’s possible for you to join one, i would encourage you to do so..

  20. I do water aerobics twice a week I love it, my Chiropractor told me it’s the best thing for me as I have minor hip and back issues. I am 74 yrs old. Also have met some great people at my classes.

  21. Swimming dance aerobics on vacations and at my parents pool thats agreat idea. When I have enough energy for it. Thanks for the advice.

  22. I am 83 and have done water aerobics for about 5 Yeats. It feels good, keeps my arthritic joints moving, ans it’s fun having coffee with the friends I ‘ve Made in class.

  23. I have been doing Aquabics for approx. 15 years, There are 35 to 40 of us with average age 55 years, all amazing ladies and a couple of brave men. everyone in better shape.

  24. My mom and I have been swimming for the pass 14 years. My mom just tuned 88 and is in excellent health and still swimming twice a week.

  25. Beater aerobics is my favorite exercise.I find my joint and back pains diminish if I go at least 3-4 days a week.A bonus is the great people I,be met there.

  26. I will definitely try it. As I get older what I did when I was young is catching up with me to my joints knees etc.. I’m hoping this will be less stress on my joints

  27. I am a young 90 year old, with an upcoming birthday in December when I will be HOORAY 91 years of age. I have been an exerciser all my life. I would carry ice skates, walk an hour or so to the ice rink and after skating walk home. I got my first job at age 14 years, when street car tickets were 8 for .25 cents and I made sure that I only bought 8 tickets for two weeks, which meant I either had to walk to work or home from work and I worked three different shifts, one of them starting at 11 o’clock at night and finishing at 7 am in the morning. This was at the start of the 39-45 war. I was one of six children and we learned early on to look after ourselves. Remember these ice skates were not bought for me, like everything else, they were hand me downs, I would walk from east of Kenilworth to the Thompson swimming pool, Gage Park skating rink or the Scott Park skating rink and I thought I was so blessed. I next got into roller skates, which we did on Maple Avenue which was closed to traffic, and then skating indoors at the Alexander on James St. South, what fun we had and many times, I walked either there or home to east of Kenilworth….bus rides were too expensive and what were you going to do when you got hoe, just go to bed. Today too much time is spent in front of TV’s, computers etc. ….a big waste of time.

    Today, I enjoy a very good life style, working out in the gym and I love to dance, that is when I can find a gentleman partner.

    I hope you enjoy my comments


  28. I do water aerobics every Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I love it. I come out of there feeling rejuvenated and happy. I have made so many friends also. I recommend it to anyone with arthritis and other health issues. It will also keep your weight down.

  29. Totally agree. I have been swimming for the past year now with a friend 3 times a week if possible. I can’t walk because of pain in my knees feet and lower back. So swimming at the Vernon pool has been awesome. We wear flippers for resistance and other things at the pool. Also must let you know that I am afraid of water, cause I can’t swim.

  30. I am almost 74. I recently took a couple of spills SKIING. My aches and pains have increased big time. I have kept myself in fairly good shape over the years.! was doing the pool for a while felt good. Riding my bike lately is making my joints sore, arthritic pains. I hike maybe 3 days per week 1.5 hrs at a time, up hill, down hill..
    Maybe I should I take your advice and hit the pool.

    Cheers / Jock

  31. my wife & I have been attending AquaSize and AquaBata classes since we retired June 30, 2014. try to get in at least 3 classes per week. blood pressure down… many of the ladies comment that they wish their husbands would join in.

  32. As a former dancer ,with aging bones water exercise are truly the best for me. I have been active in Deep Water Aqua-fit for over 16 years. Presently I am 74 years of age, these exercises keep me able to do without numerous prescriptions. .The only medication I take for the ailments of osteoarthritis, stenosis of the upper and lower back , osteoperosis and a pinched sciatic nerve is one Tylenol for arthritis daily and a shot every six months of Prolia. Very happy this activity is available.

  33. Since joining the YMAC about 20 years ago; I have had 3 left hips replaced and one subdural heamatoma (sp?) on my head. My recovery from each of these operations has been very much hastened by regular aqua fit classes at 6:30 am in our 25 m pool. With all the recovery therapy recommended by my physicians I have made some remarkable progress in getting back to normal!
    I owe my life to my main instructor- Dona- @ at our “Y”. She noticed my “listing” in the water one morning after a nasty head bang I received hitting my head on the side of my car one sleepy morning. After a cat-scan my surgeon operated the same day as soon as an operating room was available. 2-3 more days unattended- I would be dead. “You are lucky you are in such wonderful condition or you would now be 6 feet under” was what he said could have resulted.
    Aqua fit on a regular basis has certainly made my life much better! I am now in my 80th rotation around our earth – I still feel 59!!=

  34. Although I agree 120% on your article on water aerobics, they are not as readily available to most of us. As a former certified water aquatic instructor there are very few pools available that offer warm water that our aging population needs so badly. I lost my access to the warm water pool as did the 300 participants in the program. We haven’t found anywhere to go in over two years.The Canadian government needs to be much more proactive in order to keep us from ending up in the health system.

  35. You have omitted another important.component and that is the participment of men.
    They initially approach the class with concern and embarassment. If we positivly welcome them and encourage them to continue more might attend.
    You need to show them participating in your advertising.
    I know of several men who have participated in our classes who have improved muscle use and breathing and have enjoyed becoming friends with everyone.
    The social component is very important to everyone.
    Sherril Mitchell
    Brockville, Ontario

  36. I am 82 years old and I have been doing water aerobics for 14 years, I have had
    Two knee replacements and was back in the water after six weeks. I would
    recommend it to anyone the best excercise ever. Doreen

  37. Love Aquafit class and the wonderful active seniors in the group. I have had two hip replacements and soon will turn 75 years of age. Most of those involved are over the age of 70 with multiple joint replacements, arthritis and cardiac problems. Our oldest member is 89 and going strong attending 2 or 3 times per week. I wish I would have started sooner as I feel the exercise would have been extremely beneficial prior to the hip replacements. .

  38. Since I retired (early) 6 years ago I go to aquasize at least 5 days a week and love it!
    My knees and feet have stopped bothering me and I’ve met an amazing number of older women who don’t look or act anywhere near there age. If I’m still coming to the pool in 25 years like some of them I’ll give the credit to water exercise!

  39. have been doing aqua exercises for a good number of years I love it and agree totally with your article-by the way I will be 84 in December–sure keeps me feeling good.

  40. I’ve been doing water aerobics or as we call it “Aqua Fit” for over 20 years & it is the “best” work out for getting your heart rate up, building muscles, burning fat, keeping my weight stable, but watching the diet along with the exercise is important & a great place to make new friends….

  41. Since I have a back injury and other medical issues I think I will look into water aerobics after reading this blog and finding out the great benefits it could have to help me. Thank-You for the positive information!

  42. Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would
    really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Thanks

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