Aqua and Deep Water Running

Attached is an ABC Podcast which discusses the hesitations someone new to exercise might have when going to a gym.  Aqua and Deep Water Running (DWR) are discussed as low impact alternatives someone new to exercise might want try.

As an Aqua and DWR instructor I would like to make a few points about aqua fitness.

(The members at Palm Beach Aquatic enjoy a Sunday morning workout.)

Deep Water Running

Deep water running is achieved using a flotation belt which is usually supplied by the centre.  Participants either “travel” ie move up and down the length of a pool suspended in deep water and performing various movements, or “stationary” exercises.  The hydrostatic  pressure creates resistance against which participants are working to build strength and achieve fitness. The aim is to get the heart rate up and to offer a low impact alternative to running or other exercises that are hard on the joints.  The joints are protected and gradually, with consistent practice, participants become stronger and healthier overall.  DWR is ideal for people who have frozen shoulders or joint replacements.  Always advice the instructor if you have any injuries so that modifications can be given.  Because DWR appeals to a certain demographic it has unfairly been tagged as a ‘granny’ sport.  As anyone who participates and works at 100% will tell you, it is certainly not that and offers a great opportunity for cross training or ‘resting’ from other more intense workouts.  For example DWR can maintain running fitness for several weeks if performed at the right intensity and Olympians routinely take to the pool to maintain training consistency when injured. Having said that, ALL water based activities generally allow for progression and for participants to work within their levels of fitness.

I myself turned to the pool before my knee replacement and it was my exercise salvation and the reason I became a trainer.


The difference between Aqua aerobics and Deep Water Running is that one is in deep water and the other is not. Aqua is normally performed with feet touching the bottom and water at chest height.  The podcast gives the idea that Aqua Aerobics can be intense and intimidating for novices.  This is not the case. There are generally Mature @ Motivated classes as most centres which offer a gentle paced option for those who have not quite built up their confidence in the pool.

aqua aerobics in the pool

Aqua – feet touch the ground!


One of the often overlooked aspects of group fitness is the sense of community it engenders.  At the centre where I work the participants come to know each other and have formed strong bonds with each other which extend to outside the pool.  At a time when more and. more people live alone and social media isolates us from the true engagement, it’s wonderful to see our members sitting in the sun have a coffee and a yarn before or after class.

I have seen some amazing transformations through both Aqua and DWR participation.  So if you are thinking about it but feel intimidated don’t be.  Grab that towel and bathers and take yourself off to the pool.  Your body will thank you for it.


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