Water aerobics routines can vary according to the exerciser's goals for the workout. Some routines are great for cardiovascular health, while others are appropriate for building strength. Still others are effective in developing mobility and improving balance. People who are new to these types of workouts should start with simple exercises to get used to the feeling of buoyancy and the added resistance of normal movements caused by the pressure of the water. The person can then work up to more strenuous exercises or more prolonged workout sessions.
Some of the most basic water aerobics routines involve simply doing everyday motions in a body of water. Walking, for example, can raise one's heart rate when it is done in a body of water, since the water itself provides natural resistance. The water is a great place to do simple exercises for people who are recovering from an injury because the water provides consistent resistance as well as support should a person lose his or her balance. A person can progress to running in the water, or even doing cross-country skiing motions to raise the heart rate and even build muscle. A slalom skiing motion is a bit more strenuous because it involves jumping forward and to the side, and then forward and to the opposite side.
Other water aerobics routines are more focused on building muscle strength and durability. Ab crunches can be done by facing away from the wall of the pool and resting the arms on the edge of the pool. The person can then raise his or her legs until they are parallel with the surface of the water, then drop them slowly back down. The water will provide natural resistance, and for more resistance, the person can execute the movement more quickly.
Mobility exercises are some of the most common water aerobics routines, especially among people who were recently injured, or among elderly persons. These workouts involve simple motions that allow joints to move to their limits. Over time, those limits will expand, allowing for more mobility. Doing leg extensions, for example, is as easy as holding onto the side of the pool and extending the leg sideways away from the body, then returning to the starting position. The person can then extend the leg forward, then return to the starting position. The water acts as a natural support for the leg during the exercise, and it also provides resistance for conditioning the ligaments of the joints.