What Should I Expect from Water Aerobics Classes?

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

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.

Exercising in the water puts little stress on the joints and bones.
Exercising in the water puts little stress on the joints and bones.

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.

Discussion Comments


@clintflint - Taking classes won't necessarily make you feel better about humanity. It depends on the class. Some people are rude no matter what the circumstances.

In my experience, aerobics fitness classes tend to be fairly impersonal because you don't really get a chance to chat with each other during the class. It's not something I would do to meet people, although it can be fun to bring a friend and do it together.


@MrsPramm - I actually think it's better to do fitness classes in shallow water, as you can get your heart rate up more easily. Deep water is better for strength and endurance. Usually I just do some lengths in different styles in the deep water, but do the water fitness classes they hold in the more shallow water.

The only thing I don't like is that people doing the aqua-jogging tend to be less aware of others than people using the swimming lanes. I think it's because it isn't as popular, so they think they own the pool, but I always end up having to go around big groups of people who slowly wander around, jogging and gossiping with each other.

They are entitled to do what they want, but it shouldn't interfere with my right to do the same. Sometimes I think I should just take classes instead to ease that frustration.


Deep water aerobics isn't necessarily going to be better or worse than aerobics fitness classes where you can stand on the bottom. It just works a different set of muscles. Usually you will be wearing a flotation device, so it's not like you're having to fight to keep your head up or anything like that.

It's just that in one class you're pushing against the ground and in the other you're creating resistance in other ways.

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    • Water aerobics is an exercise performed in a pool.
      By: american911
      Water aerobics is an exercise performed in a pool.
    • Exercising in the water puts little stress on the joints and bones.
      By: Monkey Business
      Exercising in the water puts little stress on the joints and bones.