7 Water aerobics exercises for total body fitness

Water aerobics is like a hidden gem within the fitness world. It’s a captivating fusion of aquatic therapy and traditional exercise, offering a unique blend of challenge and comfort.

What makes it truly remarkable is its adaptability; whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or a novice, water aerobics can be tailored to suit your needs.

Now, let’s explore seven effective water aerobics exercises that promise to work your entire body, leaving you feeling refreshed and invigorated. Each exercise is a step towards a fitter, healthier you, and we’re excited to guide you through them.

What are the water aerobics exercises?

Now, let’s go right into the core of our water aerobics exercise! These seven workouts are made to provide you with a full-body workout and plenty of fun in the water. So, grab your swimwear, and let’s get moving:

1. Water walking or marching

Get ready to tone your legs and improve balance with the refreshing workout of water walking or marching! This exercise is as simple as it sounds, but it offers remarkable benefits for your total body fitness:


  • Begin by standing in chest-deep water, ensuring your feet touch the pool floor.
  • Take deliberate steps while maintaining good posture.
  • Engage your core muscles for stability and balance.
  • To increase intensity, lift your knees higher with each step.

Muscles worked:

  • Water walking engages your legs, working on your thigh muscles, calf muscles, and even your lower back as you maintain your balance in the water [1].


  • This low-impact exercise is gentle on your joints, making it suitable for all fitness levels.
  • It improves balance, posture, and coordination.
  • Water resistance adds an extra challenge, helping you burn calories and tone your leg muscles.

Water walking is a fantastic warm-up exercise or a cool-down option for your water aerobics routine.

Whether you’re new to fitness or looking to switch up your workout, incorporating water walking can be a refreshing and effective addition to your fitness regimen.

water walking or marching
Photograph: jacoblund/Envato

2. Water jogging

Water jogging is a dynamic aquatic exercise that elevates your heart rate while being gentle on your joints. A fantastic water aerobics exercise that brings the benefits of jogging into the pool:


  • Begin jogging in place with your feet off the pool floor, maintaining a comfortable depth.
  • Lift your knees towards your chest with each step, creating a jogging motion.
  • You can also mix it up by moving forward or backward to add variety to your workout.

Muscles worked:

  • Water jogging is a full-body workout that gets your heart pumping while engaging your leg muscles and core.


  • It elevates your heart rate, making it a great cardiovascular exercise.
  • By working your leg muscles in the water, it builds strength and endurance.

Water’s natural resistance ensures a low-impact workout, gentle on your joints.

Water jogging is perfect for those looking to burn calories and strengthen their legs without the impact associated with traditional jogging. It’s a refreshing way to stay fit, and the soothing water adds a therapeutic touch to your workout routine.

3. Water bicycling

Dive into a unique aquatic workout with Water bicycling, where you’ll pedal your way to fitness in the refreshing pool environment. A dynamic water aerobics exercise that mimics the pedaling action of a bicycle [2], all while enjoying the benefits of the water:


  • Find a comfortable spot in the pool where you can sit on a pool noodle or use the pool’s edge for support.
  • Begin pedaling your legs as if you were riding a bicycle, ensuring a fluid and controlled motion.
  • You can adjust the intensity by varying your speed and resistance against the water.

Muscles worked:

  • Water bicycling primarily targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, giving your lower body an excellent workout.


  • It strengthens and tones your leg muscles effectively.
  • Water resistance challenges your muscles without the impact of traditional cycling, making it joint-friendly.
  • This exercise is ideal for improving endurance and promoting cardiovascular health.

Water bicycling offers a refreshing twist to traditional cycling and is perfect for those seeking to sculpt their lower body while enjoying the therapeutic effects of the water. 

Hop on your “water bike,” pedal away, and experience the revitalizing sensation of this water aerobics exercise.

4. Water aerobic jumping jacks

Let’s add a splash of fun to your water aerobics routine with water aerobics jumping jacks, a classic exercise adapted for the pool:


  • Start in chest-deep water with your feet together and arms resting at your sides.
  • Begin by jumping your legs outward, wider than hip-width apart, while simultaneously raising your arms above your head.
  • Then, return to the starting position by bringing your legs back together and lowering your arms.

Muscles worked:

  • Water aerobics jumping jacks engage your cardiovascular system, shoulders, and legs, delivering a total body workout.


  • Elevates your heart rate, promoting cardiovascular fitness.
  • Tones and strengthens both upper and lower body muscles.
  • Enhances coordination and agility through rhythmic movements.

Water aerobics jumping jacks offer an exciting way to boost your heart rate while enjoying the buoyancy of water, reducing impact on your joints. This exercise is suitable for all fitness levels, making it an excellent addition to your water workout routine.

5. Water aerobics high knees

A lively, heart-pumping exercise that elevates your aquatic workout. A dynamic exercise that promises to elevate your heart rate and engage your core and legs in the refreshing pool environment:


  • Stand chest-deep in the water with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Begin by marching in place while lifting your knees as high as possible.
  • Imagine you’re trying to touch your knees with your hands with each lift.
  • Maintain a steady and rhythmic motion throughout.

Muscles worked:

  • This exercise targets your core, legs, and hip flexors, delivering an effective workout.


  • Elevates your heart rate, contributing to improved cardiovascular fitness.
  • Strengthens your core and lower body muscles.
  • Enhances agility and coordination through controlled movements in water.

Water aerobics high knees is a fantastic way to add variety to your water workout routine while working on your overall fitness [3]. Plus, the buoyancy of water ensures a low-impact experience, making it suitable for individuals of all fitness levels.

Water aerobics high knees
Photograph: irishasel/Envato

6. Water aerobic leg lifts

Sculpt and strengthen your lower body while enjoying the therapeutic effects of the water. An exercise that will have your lower body feeling the burn in the most refreshing way possible:


  • Find a comfortable spot in the pool where the water is about chest-deep.
  • Hold onto the pool’s edge or use a flotation device for support.
  • Lift one leg straight out in front of you, then lower it back down.
  • Alternate between legs in a controlled and deliberate manner.

Muscles worked:

  • Water aerobics leg lifts target your abdominal muscles, thighs, and lower back, offering a well-rounded lower body workout.


  • Strengthens and tones your lower body effectively.
  • Improves balance and stability as you work against the water’s resistance.
  • Enhances your overall posture through controlled leg movements.

Water aerobics leg lifts are a fantastic addition to your aquatic fitness routine, allowing you to sculpt and strengthen your lower body while enjoying the therapeutic effects of the water.

It’s a great exercise for building stability and balance, making it suitable for individuals of varying fitness levels.

7. Water aerobic arm circles

Get ready to engage your upper body with the invigorating motion of water aerobics arm circles [4]. An engaging exercise that will help you work those upper body muscles in the refreshing embrace of the pool:


  • Stand in chest-deep water, ensuring you’re stable.
  • Extend your arms out to the sides, parallel to the water’s surface.
  • Begin making circular motions with your arms, both clockwise and counterclockwise.
  • Keep the movements controlled and maintain a steady rhythm.

Muscles worked:

  • This exercise engages your shoulder muscles, chest, and upper back, providing a thorough upper body workout.


  • Enhances shoulder flexibility and range of motion.
  • Tones and strengthens your upper body muscles effectively.
  • The water’s resistance adds an extra challenge, contributing to improved muscle endurance.

Water aerobics arm circles offer a refreshing twist to traditional arm exercises while taking advantage of the pool’s buoyancy. It’s an excellent way to target your upper body and relieve tension in the water’s soothing environment.

How to get the most out of water aerobics?

Let’s ensure your water aerobics workout is a success with these valuable tips:

  1. Don’t underestimate the importance of hydration, even in the pool. Bring a water bottle and take sips between exercises.
  2. Focus on your breath. To optimize oxygen intake, take deep breaths via your nose and release them through your mouth.
  3. Start slowly, especially if you’re new to water aerobics. To prevent overdoing it, increase time and intensity gradually.
  4. Pay attention to any discomfort or strain. To avoid injury, adjust workouts or take breaks as necessary.
  5. Wear a comfortable swimsuit and water shoes for added traction and protection.
  6. Ensure the pool has certified instructors and adheres to safety standards.
  7. Always include a warm-up and cool-down in your routine to prepare and recover your muscles.

With these tips, you’ll be well-prepared for a rewarding and safe water aerobics workout [5]. Dive in and enjoy the benefits of this refreshing exercise.

In closing

Water aerobics offers an exciting and refreshing way to achieve total body fitness. You’ve learned about a variety of exercises that can help you stay active, burn calories, and strengthen your muscles in the soothing embrace of the water.

Now, it’s time to take action and incorporate these exercises into your fitness routine. Whether you’re seeking a low-impact workout, aiming to improve your cardiovascular health, or simply looking for a refreshing change in your fitness routine, water aerobics has something to offer.


Is water aerobics a full body workout?

Yes, water aerobics is a full-body workout as it engages both upper and lower body muscles while providing cardiovascular benefits.

What are the water aerobics exercises?

Water aerobics exercises include activities like water walking, jogging, cycling, jumping jacks, high knees, leg lifts, and arm circles.

Is water aerobics good for fitness?

Yes, water aerobics is an excellent choice for fitness as it offers a low-impact, joint-friendly workout that improves cardiovascular health, strength, and overall well-being.

[1] https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/water-walking
[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/aquatic-exercise
[3] https://www.healthtrax.com/blog/2018/7/23/benefits-of-water-exercise
[4] https://www.americansportandfitness.com/blogs/fitness-blog/4-water-aerobics-exercises-that-you-can-do-in-the-pool
[5] https://plungesandiego.com/what-eat-wear-water-aerbobics-times-do/

Photograph: NomadSoul1/Envato
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