What Are the Benefits of Water Aerobics?

Susan Grindstaff

Some of the benefits of water aerobics include improving flexibility, strengthening muscles, and improving muscle tone. In addition, water aerobics are usually considered a good way to burn calories. Many people who enjoy water aerobics claim it is fun and relaxing, and often much less tedious than many other types of aerobics.

Water aerobics is an exercise performed in a pool.
Water aerobics is an exercise performed in a pool.

Water aerobics are usually performed in swimming pools, though most any type of clear, shallow water will do. It is important that the water is no higher than chest level, and for some forms of this exercise, waist high water is recommended. Most of the benefits of water aerobics are the result of the slight resistance the water exerts on muscle groups involved in various routines. Unlike traditional resistance exercises performed using weights, water resistance routines are considered very low impact and do not usually result in over-working muscle groups.

Water aerobics classes are especially beneficial to the elderly.
Water aerobics classes are especially beneficial to the elderly.

Some types of exercise routines can become boring, and for this reason, some people may begin to dread or postpone their workouts. One of the main benefits of water aerobics is that the routines are usually considered fun, and often become something participants anticipate rather than avoid. This is especially true for those who incorporate these routines into summer exercise plans, in which case the routines offer welcome relief from summer heat.

Water aerobics builds muscle tone and strength in much the same way as other types of aerobics. Increased heart and breathing rates lead to metabolic changes that help transform calories into muscle rather than fat. The alternating buoyancy and resistance of water gently works muscles and helps develop tone and flexibility. In addition, buoyancy of the water helps reduce strain, and depending on the specific aquatic exercise, buoyancy may even make some of them easier to do. Those who practice aquatic aerobics typically experience fewer strains and injuries than do those who practice other types of aerobics.

Even though water exercises typically burn fewer calories per hour than other low impact aerobics, their caloric impact is not insignificant. Depending on the exercise routine, more than 250 calories per hour can be burned. What makes this significant is that many people who practice these exercises actually devote a full hour, while most other low impact aerobic routines generally involve half-hour sessions.

For those interested in experiencing the benefits of water aerobics, it is a good idea to first talk it over with a physician. A physician will be able to determine the health impact and risk factors of such a program. In addition, a doctor may be able to give advice on the how to time a safe workout, and may even be helpful in choosing routines.

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