When you're considering taking water aerobics classes, you should expect to take them at a community center or other public swimming pool location. These classes may cost a little more than a regular public swimming session, but typically a water aerobics class is reasonably priced. You should expect to be able to choose between shallow or deep water aerobics classes at most public recreation facilities.
Deep water aerobic exercise means your feet won't be touching the pool floor, so if that makes you feel uncomfortable, starting with with the shallow workout class may be a good idea. Shallow water aerobics classes are done with the feet touching the bottom of the pool. The water level is approximately at the chest. Jumping jacks, marching and leg crossing movements similar to land aerobics are common shallow water exercises. The advanced shallow water aerobics sessions involve more detailed steps and elaborate arm movements than the beginner classes.
When you're ready to try deep water aerobics, you should find out what equipment, if any, you'll need to bring to the classes. Some deep water aerobics classes include the use of everything that's needed, while others don't. A kick board, hand-held buoy or a water noodle is needed to hold yourself up in the pool's deep end. While a kick board is flat and the buoys are often round to fit into each hand easily, a water noodle is cylindrical. It's a bendable length of colorful foam on which the arms can be rested to keep the rest of the body upright in the deep end; it's also called a pool noodle and may be used in arm movements in shallow water aerobics classes.
Since exercising in water is much gentler on the joints than land workouts, you can expect people of different mobility levels in your classes. Water aerobics classes are often considered ideal for seniors and obese people, as well as those with joint conditions such as arthritis. You can expect to burn about 300 to 700 calories during an hour water aerobics session, but this amount will depend on your age and fitness level as well as the pace of each individual class.
Warm-ups and cool downs with a more intense middle part form the basic water aerobics class. Within those general guidelines, the speed of the movements varies according to the instructor. You shouldn't expect all water aerobics classes to have music during the workout. If that's important to you, checking ahead is a good idea. Especially if you're new to aerobics or regular exercise, start with moderate movements rather than overdoing the first few classes or you may find your legs feeling weak when you get out of the water.