Water aerobics a fun, easy way to improve health

Boomers in water aerobics class

While water aerobics was once touted as an alternative exercise for people with limited ability to move or suffering with arthritis, more and more Baby Boomers are discovering the great benefits available for everyone. Even the most skilled and fit among us find value with the low-impact activity.

And it’s still the perfect exercise for pregnant women, people with joint problems or other health concerns.

The water is our friend. Exercising in water lessens the impact on our joints, spine and legs. The resistance of water allows us to have stronger workouts and the buoyancy makes us feel lighter and supported. 

Benefits of aqua aerobics

  • Being in the water makes us feel calmer, less stressed and less restricted in our movements. 
  • Exercising in water improves our cardiovascular conditioning, keeping our heart rate up without wearing us out. 
  • We burn more calories exercising in water than on land because of the water’s resistance. The Aquatic Exercise Association estimates that 400-500 calories can be burned in an hour of water aerobics. Of course that depends on the intensity of your activity and your size. 
  • Working against the water’s resistance helps build our muscles more efficiently than the same exercises on land. We improve our strength and our body tone as well as our flexibility with increased range of motion. 
  • It’s refreshing to be in the water and easier to stay cool while exercising. 
  • You can set your own pace – the workout can be as intense as you want it to be. 

Finding a water aerobics class

Before taking on any kind of exercise, common sense says to check with your doctor to make sure it’s right for you.

Once you have the go-ahead, you definitely want to find an indoor pool. The water temperature is more consistent than outdoor pools. You can participate year-round instead of just the warmer months of the year. And you can have your exercise regardless of what the weather is doing.

Most YWCAs or YMCAs have indoor pools and have scheduled water exercise classes from the less intense arthritis classes to the more advanced workout classes. Usually your annual membership, which is reasonable, covers all water classes.

Cities with active recreational departments generally have recreation centers with indoor pools and scheduled water classes. They have varying payment plans from an annual fee to a by-the-class fee.

Check out the instructors. Certification is important but not always necessary. However, adequate training is critical. You want to feel confident that the instructor knows what she or he is doing and understands how different movements affect parts of the body. 

Safety should be a top priority. Is there a lifeguard on duty at the pool? Although most classes are conducted in chest-high water, a safety-conscious instructor will identify the non-swimmers in the class and provide flotation devices for their use.

Try it, you'll like it

For Baby Boomers really committed to healthy aging and having a life of gusto, you’ll find water aerobics a great fit. Plus, it’s lots of fun and you never know what interesting folks will show up next to you in class.


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