fbpx ;

What to Expect in a Water Fitness Class (and Why It’s Not Just for Old Ladies)

I recently took my first water aerobics class, a to-do on my list that I’ve been putting off for reasons of fear or not knowing what to expect. I know it’s silly, but there’s always a bit of a mental barrier to trying something new — and when it’s something like a class where you actually have to change clothing at the gym, well, it was enough for me to put it off for years. But now that I’ve conquered the water aerobics class at my gym, I thought I’d share a few helpful tips that just might get you diving into a water fitness class, too — which now I’m convinced not enough people are taking advantage of!


8 Things to Expect in a Water Fitness Class

1. It’s tough. It might not be the hardest workout you’ve ever done, but it’s definitely challenging because it’s completely different than working out on land. It’s one of those workouts where you’re in charge of how hard you’re working. Sure you can slack off, but if you really push yourself, you’ll get a good workout.

2. You might not realize how tough it is! Water is deceptive. You stay nice and cool and don’t realize how much you’re sweating. So you might not realize how hard you’re working until you pull yourself out of the pool and all of your limbs feel fatigued.

3. The current works against you. I never really thought of pools as having currents, but when you get a lot of people moving in a pool, waves get waving. Certain exercises like leg lifts have an added balance challenge because you’re trying to brace yourself against the water’s movement.

4. It might lean toward older exercisers, but it’s great for any level. Whether you’re pregnant, injured or just want a low-impact routine, you can make water aerobics work for you. It’d be a great workout if you’re getting over an injury and have been cleared for exercise but aren’t quite ready to hop back into your normal routine. Or if you love water workouts but just aren’t up for swimming laps.

5. It’s easy to modify. There are so many ways to modify moves, so if something feels uncomfortable, you can easily switch it up to something that feels good to you. Instructors should be willing to help you out, whether it’s to accommodate a pregnant belly or an injury.

6. Your feet might hurt. Many of the experienced water exercisers wore water shoes, and I soon learned why. The bottom of the pool is rough enough that you’re doing some serious exfoliation after an hour of walking, running and lunging on the bottom of the pool. My feet were just a touch tender by the end of the session.

7. It takes some technique. I was surprised that there was a bit of a learning curve with some of the movements. Like, it was tough going backwards until one of the ladies gave me a tip on how exactly to use my dumbbell to my advantage. Which leads me to …

8. Water people are welcoming. From the instructor to the all of the participants, everyone was so helpful. They were all more than happy to let an outsider in on the best-kept secret that is water aerobics!

Have you ever taken a water aerobics class? What surprised you? —Erin

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


  1. Ali J says:

    I taught deep water aerobics a few summers ago. It is a really great workout!!!! I think that most of this article was geared toward shallow water aerobics, the only difference really with the deep water aerobics is that you have the option to wear a flotation belt to help keep you up. It helps a bit, but you still have to work to stay up! 🙂 I had some participants who did not use it, but if you are new to the class I would definitely recommend using a flotation belt during the class.

  2. Bridgitt says:

    Deep water aerobics, water running, kickboxing, zumba are all stuff I’d love to teach. Being in the water is refreshing and good for you.

  3. it has been a LONG time since I took a water aerobics class. And at our gym, yes, it is old ladies rocking the foam noodles. Maybe I will lower the average age in the pool by a couple of decades and give it a try.

  4. Denise says:

    Excellent post and full of great advice. Thank you for sharing these tips. I love the warm water in the pool at our local orthopedic hospital. It is a relaxing way to help my chronic pain.

Comments are closed.