With water aerobics, you can get a great full-body workout and enjoy the cooling benefits of water even while in the sun. It's also a fun way to burn calories, improve your endurance and boost your health and well-being. To reap the greatest benefits of water aerobics, do at least 20 minutes, exerting yourself at a level that increases your breathing and heart rates.
Water Walking or Running
Water walking is one of the easiest exercises you can do in the water. Stand in chest-deep water next to the wall to help balance yourself. Lift one knee up and extend that leg out in front of your body. Once your foot is out in front of you, shift your weight forward, bringing your heel down to the floor first, before rolling onto your toes. Bring your back foot off the floor as you roll onto the stepping foot. Swing your back knee forward and then extend the leg to bring that foot in front of you. Use your arms to help you maintain a long stride and a controlled torso as you walk through the water. For variety, try running. Shorten your stride, push and pull the water with your hands and add a bounce to your step as you run through the water. You can walk and run in either shallow or deep water.
Because you need to push off the floor to do this exercise, do it in chest-deep water. Lift one knee in front of your body. Swing the lifted leg out to the side as you extend your knee, being careful not to overreach or lift your leg too high. As you swing your leg away from the standing leg, push off your standing leg to leap up and toward the lifted leg, as if you were leaping over a small log. Land on the leg of the lifted foot first and then bring the other foot down to the floor next to it. You can continue to travel in the same direction or change directions with each leap. Keep your knees softly bent and use your arms to assist the movement.
In shallow or deep water, extend the right leg forward and the left leg behind you. Swing the left arm forward and the right arm behind you. If you are in shallow water, your entire front foot should be on the floor but your back heel should be lifted. Keep your torso upright and your weight centered between the front and back feet. Jump up, pull your thighs together in the center and switch the position of your feet by swinging the back foot forward and the front foot backward. As you do this, swing your arms in the opposite direction in a pendulum-like motion past your hips.
This exercise can be done in either shallow or deep water. Jump into a straddle position, opening your arms and legs out to the sides. Then pull your arms and legs together. Try to rise up out of the water as your arms and legs move to the center. For variety, try to pull your legs in and push them out again before landing.
- American Council on Exercise: Make a Splash With Water Fitness
- Aquatic Exercise Association: Aquatic Fitness Professional Manual
- Waterfit Instructor Training & Speedo’s Aquatic Fitness System Specificity of Training and Deep Water Program; Mary E Sanders
Cindy Killip is a health and fitness specialist, health coach, author and speaker who has been teaching and writing about exercise and wellness since 1989. She authored "Living the BONES Lifestyle: A Practical Guide to Conquering the Fear of Osteoporosis." Killip holds multiple certifications through the American Council on Exercise and degrees in communications and sociology from Trinity University.