8 Water Aerobics Exercises to Try Today
Water aerobics is a fun way to build strength, endurance, and mobility while reducing the amount of stress on your joints and the gravity-fueled risks of working out on the gym floor.
If you’ve ever found yourself eyeing pool-goers at the gym, it might be time for you to get in the water and give it a try. If you’ve already done a water aerobics class or two and you’d like to do some extra work on your own, here are 8 water aerobics exercises to try today!
Before we get to the good part, we need to note that you should only do water aerobics with permission from your doctor and under the supervision of an instructor if you aren’t completely confident in your ability to move into, through, and out of the water safely. Additionally, all of the activities listed below should be done in a pool that is deep enough to submerge the length of your body up to at least shoulder height.
Walking + Jogging
This first water aerobic exercise is exactly what you’d think—you’re just going to walk in place on the pool floor, lifting your knees as high as you’re comfortable. Once you’ve got walking down, you can take things up a notch with some jogging, which, we admit, may look more like bouncing up and down—but we promise it’s a whole lot of fun.
Next are leg lifts, which will fire up your core and legs, promoting improved balance.
Use the side of your pool for balance support by reaching for the deck or by grasping the gutter. Root one foot into the pool floor and carefully lift the other leg in front of you. Once you’ve lifted the leg as high as you comfortably can, lower it back down to the ground. Now repeat the movement, but this time lifting your leg out towards the direction of the knife-edge side of your foot. When you no longer can lift your leg higher, bring it back down. Now, try to lift your leg up and out behind you (it doesn’t have to come very high off the ground) and then place it back down.
Finally, turn around so your body faces the other direction, use the hand closest to the pool wall for balance support, and repeat on the other side. Eventually, you can try this movement without the support of the side of the pool at all.
High Knee Lift Extensions
Similar to the previous water workout, begin by holding the pool’s edge, working away from it as you build strength and balance.
Root the foot closest on the same side as your balancing hand into the pool floor, then raise the opposing knee until it is bent at a 90-degree angle with your thigh parallel to the floor. Hold this position for a moment and then begin extending your leg straight out in front of you. Straighten your leg as far as it can before bending it again and bring it back down to the ground. Then turn around to switch your balancing hand (if you’re holding onto the pool) and repeat on the other side.
Arm curls in the water are just like arm curls on land, but underwater. Consider using water weights for an added challenge. All you have to do is extend out and hold your arms in front of you with your palms facing the sky. Curl your arms in towards your body until your arms are fully bent, or your palms touch your shoulders, then uncurl your arms and release them back down. Repeat until you feel your muscles fatigue.
To perform arm raises, start with your arms extended straight out to your sides at shoulder level, palms facing up. Lift one arm toward the ceiling until it creates a 90-degree angle with the other arm. Repeat on the other side, and then continue until you feel your muscles fatigue.
Flutter kicking is a fantastic way to increase your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular fitness. We recommend using a kickboard, but if you’re a confident swimmer, you can replace this with a traditional lap swim.
To do flutter kicks, hold the kickboard out in front of you, putting your weight onto it for support. Launch off the ground and flutter your feet in small kicks to propel you across the water. Do as many laps as you see fit.
Taking jumping jacks into the pool provides the same benefits as on-ground jumping jacks (cardio, balance, strength), but the water minimizes impact, making them much softer on the body.
Stand with your feet together and arms out to the side. Jump your feet out while bringing your hands out and over your head to touch (or get close to touching). Jump your feet back together while simultaneously bringing your arms back down to the surface of the water. Repeat from there!
Our final pool exercise, standing push-ups, are the low-impact version of a traditional pushup.
Face the pool wall, gripping the side of the deck or gutter gently at slightly more than shoulder-width distance apart. You should stand about the same length of your extended arms reaching the wall; if you need more weight resistance and are looking for more of a challenge, move your feet farther away. Similarly, if you need less resistance, move closer to the wall.
Now, bend your elbows so your chest moves toward the wall. When your elbows are bent at 90-degree angles, press back up. Looking to try some water exercise classes? Water aerobics is a fun, approachable, accessible way to get a great workout, and the pools at our 30+ locations are just calling your name, waiting for you to jump in and give it a try!