Not Your Mother’s Aqua Aerobics Class

You have likely seen the Aquatic Aerobics class in the pool on Monday nights.  The participants look like they are having a “Grand Old Time” with lots of props and toys.  They gracefully float across the water for 60 min with apparent ease and not a care in the world.  It never actually occurred to me that they were getting a killer workout ….until I joined them for a class just recently.

I, as many Americans, suffer from episodic flare ups of low back pain.  Every once in a while I can tweak my back after lifting something a little too heavy for sitting for a little too long in the plane.  As an orthopedic physical therapist, I know the theoretical benefits of exercising in the water.  However, I had never felt the true benefits myself.  So when I had my most recent flare up, I decided to do something different…..put on a bathing suit.

Once I got over my initial embarrassment of donning a bathing suit, walking through the gym, and putting on an “ever so flattering” buoyancy belt……I realized that you can get an incredible low impact cardiovascular workout in the pool without even breaking a sweat!  For someone who can easily use an elliptical for 45 min, I was amazed at how tired I was after just the first 5 min.

Here is what makes this aquatic aerobics class something to get excited about:

1)      Interval Training – The recent fitness literature has found that one of the best ways to challenge the cardiovascular system is to train at a max level for short intervals.  This class will push you to a maximum level of cardiovascular output for 2-3 min intervals with a 30 sec recovery.

2)      Full Range of Movement – Most people challenge their muscles in the middle range and avoid the end of the range, leaving their muscles vulnerable to injury.  This class challenges you to work against the water at end ranges of movement in your chest, arms and thighs.  This is a great way to get more exercise for your buck

3)      Resistance Training – Water is 12 times more resistant than air!!!  This means that you will be able to build strength and power in the pool.  All of the current fitness literature points at an exercise routine that has aspects of resistance training and cardiovascular fitness together.

4)      Core Stability – It really is all about your core!  Most recent studies focused on exercise performance have found that having good coordination of the trunk muscles is one factor in injury prevention in athletes. The resistive properties of the water force the participant to engage their core for the entire class!

So the next time that you see the water aerobic class in session…..think about joining it yourself.  You just might be surprised how good of a workout you will get!

Diana grew up in a small suburb north of Boston. She received her clinical doctorate degree in Physical Therapy at Boston University in 2006. Diana started practicing as a physical therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital. While at MGH, she developed a specialty in the evaluation and treatment of complex lumbopelvic dysfunction. Diana is currently practicing at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston where she is the Orthopedic Clinical Supervisor of the Spine program. She is presently a Boston resident and her interests outside physical therapy include cooking, walking on the Esplanade, and international travel.

13 Responses to “Not Your Mother’s Aqua Aerobics Class”

  1. cheryl lawless says:

    We need another night for Water Aeorbics!!!

  2. Pam Svec says:

    It would really be nice to have the class a different day instead of Monday since the evening class is on Monday.I don’t think people are likely to go twice in the same day so you are eliminating part of those likely to come. We’ve been asking for another class for awhile. It would be nice if it were in the evening so those of us who work could go. Pam Svec

  3. […] planning your schedule this summer, too? Be sure to incorporate all of our summer classes such as water aerobics, Master’s & Junior Swim as well as outdoor Yoga and […]

  4. I would definitely join a water aerobic class too! I have been seeking one that is more up-to-date.

  5. Rose Sullivan says:

    There is certainly something to be said for Susann’s request. Those of us who love the water aerobics classes have been hoping for more classes for some time now. If there’s any way you could add a class on a different day than Monday (so that the activity is spread over the course of the week), it would be great. Especially in the summer, you’re sure to get lots of people to join in.

  6. Susann Benoit says:

    Hooray for exercise in the pool! The Monday class is great, but there are 6 more days in the week. How about one or two more classes?

    • Greg Hard says:

      Hi Susann,

      Thanks for your feedback. We’re adding another Water Aerobics class on Mondays at 9:30am beginning June 3rd. Hope you’re able to join!

      • Susann Benoit says:

        I should be able to join most Mondays, and then will be in the pool AGAIN later that same day for the 6pm class.

        But what about Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday? Could we get a class on a DIFFERENT day so we spread the aerobics around, and so we don’t have to get our hair wet twice in one day(!) ?

        It is a long week.


      • Kelly Wright says:

        Actually, the 9:30am class will start Monday, May 20th. Hope to see you all in the pool with me!

      • Susann Benoit says:

        We are all excited to hear about a second class, but it would really be great to have it on a DIFFERENT day of the week. Two water aerobics classes on one day is perhaps a bit too much of a good thing. We would like to spread it around!

        I will be in Tucson on May 20th, but will see you in the pool for the next class.

  7. Rose Sullivan says:

    Since water aerobics is such good exercise, how about adding more than just one class? Especially with summer coming, you might find that more people would join if there were options other than just Monday night!

    • Greg Hard says:

      Hi Rose,

      Thanks for your feedback. We’re adding another Water Aerobics class on Mondays at 9:30am beginning June 3rd. Hope you’re able to join!