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Both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association recommend between 75 and 150 minutes or more of aerobic activity weekly for good cardiovascular health. One option is water aerobics. Water aerobics can help you lose weight as it burns calories and encourages lean muscle development.
Water aerobics consists of a variety of exercises that use the water around you to provide resistance. Water aerobics classes may include walking, arm motions, leg motions and full-body movements, occasionally using equipment such as foam noodles, webbed gloves and flotation devices to increase the resistance of the specific exercise. Because the buoyancy of the water supports the body, water aerobics can be performed by almost anyone, including those who cannot take part in higher-impact aerobics or other exercises; this allows elderly individuals, rehabilitation patients, pregnant women and others to exercise when they might not be able to otherwise.
The number of calories burned by water aerobics depends both on the exercises and your weight when you begin the session. According to the Mayo Clinic, water aerobics burns an average of 402 calories per hour for someone weighing 160 pounds, 501 calories per hour for someone weighing 200 pounds and 600 calories per hour for someone who weights 240 pounds. This is in addition to the approximately 2,000 calories burned per day by the body's metabolic functions, and to calories burned by strength training or other exercises that you do in addition to water aerobics.
The amount of weight lost through water aerobics depends both on the number of calories burned and the calories taken in through your diet. You have to burn approximately 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose one pound of weight. Given that water aerobics burns an average of 400 to 600 calories per hour, weight loss through water aerobics will be slower than through more intensive exercises such as running or jumping rope. A reduced-calorie diet will speed up the process; development of lean muscle through water aerobics will also help your weight loss by raising your at-rest metabolic rate, which results in more calories being burned throughout the day.
Beginning Water Aerobics
Consult a doctor before beginning a water aerobics routine; he will not only be able to provide you with advice on how to start your routine and adjustments you can make to your diet but will also weigh you and perform basic tests that will help you track your progress. Consult a certified water aerobics instructor to find out the proper way to perform water aerobics to maximize effectiveness; you may also wish to enroll in classes at a local pool or fitness center if they are available.