Water Aerobics
is Resistance Training Too


Water aerobics is cardiovascular exercise done in a swimming pool. It is also sometimes called “aqua aerobics” or “aqua jogging” and, though aerobic, it is really a form of resistance training.

One of the benefits is the very reduced the risk of muscle or joint injury. The mitigation of gravity by flotation places less stress on joints during exercise and may allow a greater range of motion. The mitigation of gravity also makes water exercise safe for anyone able to keep their head out of water, including the elderly.

While at the same time, aquatic activities in general expend more energy than many land-based exercises performed at the same pace, due to the increased resistance of water. Another benefit is that exercising in water prevents overheating through continuous cooling of your body.

Water workouts usually combine a variety of techniques based on land exercise, such as walking and running backward and forward, jumping jacks, and various arm and upper body movements. The workouts often include equipment such as flotation devices.

Water exercise can be as vigorous or as gentle as it needs to be, depending on the age, fitness level, and goals of the trainees. Rehabilitating professional athletes, for example, often train by doing highly vigorous water workouts to preserve their muscle and aerobic fitness, while at the same time not stressing recovering joints or aching muscles.

Watch an aquatic exercise slide show from the Mayo Clinic here (opens new window).


Return from Water Aerobics to the Cardio page.