Is Water Aerobics Good For Weight Loss?

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While it is not the most popular exercise choice, water aerobics does get you moving. Find out if this is enough to help you lose weight.

To achieve weight loss, you need to make it so your body requires more energy to function than is coming in from food.

Because the movements involved use up more energy than your regular activities, you can say that water aerobics is good for weight loss.

One of the more unique benefits of water aerobics is that many people find it fun to do. Additionally, it is soft on body parts like your ankles, knees, and back.

That being said, you do have to keep in mind that your habits in other areas like your diet still need to be good enough to see weight loss results with water aerobics.

Additionally, there are definitely also many activities that are more effective than water aerobics for losing weight.

Besides that, going to the pool and changing into your swimming gear requires a good amount of time. Water aerobics may not be the best for busy schedules.

Can you lose weight by doing water aerobics?

Before going into the details, it is worth noting that doing water aerobics can help you lose weight. That being said, there are still a few conditions and other things to note.

If you want to lose weight, you need to get in a situation where your body needs more energy than is coming in from food. When this happens, you start using up energy stores like body fat.

Water aerobics and other workouts help in this process because the intense movements involved typically require more energy than your daily activities.

This increases your chances of getting into the situation above and making the difference bigger.

That being said, this is only part of the principle above. You also still need to make it so your habits in areas like your diet are good enough to see weight loss results.

Additionally, because you only have so much time to exercise more, you also want to know how water aerobics compares to alternatives for losing weight.

Calories burned water aerobics vs walking and other alternatives

To compare water aerobics to walking and other alternatives you can look at the estimations of how many calories (aka energy) each activity burns.

Before showing these estimations you need to know that they are only rough predictions.

How many calories you burn with water aerobics and the other exercises will likely vary because of differences in body composition, hormone levels, exact exercise intensity, etc.

That being said, the estimations still give you some idea of how water aerobics compares to other options in terms of weight loss effectiveness.

A 155-pound (70 kg) person will burn more or less the following amounts of calories while doing the activities for 30 minutes (1):

  • Water Aerobics: 201 calories
  • Walking 4 mph: 175 calories
  • Stretching (Hatha Yoga): 186 calories
  • Stair Step Machine (general): 223 calories
  • Rowing, Stationary (moderate): 260 calories
  • Bicycling, Stationary (moderate): 260 calories
  • Elliptical Trainer (general): 335 calories
  • Running 5.2 mph: 335 calories
  • Jumping rope: 372 calories
  • Swimming (breaststroke): 372 calories

While you can likely burn more calories with water aerobics by making your movements more intense, it does look like there are many exercises that are more effective for weight loss.

Can you lose belly fat with water aerobics?

There is a common belief that you have to do certain exercises like water aerobics or eat certain food to lose fat from specific areas like your belly.

However, it is actually generally not possible to target fat loss in very significant amounts with water aerobics or other exercises.

To lose belly fat, you have to lose enough weight overall. Over time, your body will then “decide” to use more and more fat from around your stomach.

That means you can lose belly fat with water aerobics but you will not target this area specifically.

Additionally, your habits in other lifestyle areas like nutrition have to be good enough. Especially if you really want to get a visible six-pack.

How much weight can you lose with water aerobics?

Burning a lot of calories sounds nice but you likely also want to know what types of fat loss results this can offer.

First of all, it is worth mentioning that areas like your diet will influence how much weight you can lose with water aerobics a lot.

It can make the difference between gaining weight while doing water aerobics and seeing double as much or more weight loss progress.

That being said, assume there is a 155-pound (70 kg) person who has a routine that keeps them at the same weight. The only change they make is doing more water aerobics.

This 155-pound (70 kg) person can burn an extra 603 calories or about 0.17 pounds (0.08 kg) of body fat by doing three 30-minute water aerobics sessions in a week.

If this person implements the same water aerobics routine for four weeks, they burn an extra 2412 calories or about 0.69 pounds (0.3 kg) of body fat.

Keep in mind that your body weight plays a big role in how many calories activities burn. As you lose weight, your water aerobics workouts will start to become less effective.

How many times a week should you do water aerobics for weight loss?

One of the advantages of water aerobics is that it is relatively soft on your body. This is one of the workouts where you are least likely to get injured.

In turn, you can actually do water aerobics a lot before encountering any issues in this area.

That means how many times a week should you do water aerobics for weight loss will mostly depend on how much time you have and what other workouts you want to do.

For some people, that will mean doing one session of water aerobics a week. For others, that could mean doing water aerobics five times a week or even more.

One thing to note is that it can be smart to implement resistance training exercises to build muscle too.

This extra muscle mass will help you burn more calories during your water aerobics sessions and the rest of your day.

Disadvantages of water aerobics for losing weight

Up until now, the article focuses on the positive points of water aerobics in a weight loss context. Even so, there are also a few disadvantages to keep in mind.

First of all, water aerobics does not burn the highest amount of calories. 30 minutes of water aerobics may get you the same results as 10 minutes of fast running.

Secondly, you have to have a pool and potentially an instructor to be able to do water aerobics.

This will mean spending extra time driving to the pool and investing some money in a membership.

In short, water aerobics requires a good amount of extra time to do and the minutes you exercise are not as powerful as many alternatives.

Is water aerobics a good choice for weight loss?

You can lose weight with water aerobics but it is generally not the most effective choice.

Even if you are looking for low-impact exercises to get in shape, other options like swimming, using an elliptical trainer, and cycling are typically more effective.

Additionally, even with these cardiovascular exercises, it can be smart to implement resistance training exercises to build muscle if weight loss is your goal.

Another disadvantage of water aerobics is that it can take more time to be able to do the exercise. Driving to the swimming pool, changing into your swimsuit, and changing into your clothes again can take some time.

That being said, putting together a weight loss workout plan is not only about how many calories you burn per minute. Enjoying the activities you do can help a lot with staying consistent.

So if you really like doing water aerobics, you could consider choosing this exercise anyway. You just want to know that you are missing out on some results by not choosing more effective options.

Why you are not losing weight while doing water aerobics

Even after spending many hours doing water aerobics, there are some people who don’t see any weight loss results.

If this happens to you, the main reason for this is that you are not paying enough attention to other lifestyle areas like your diet.

You can have an intense workout program but undo all your results with a few suboptimal meals.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.