If you are looking for a two-for-one deal when it comes to fitness, look to Aqua Zumba. According to Zumba Education Specialist Maria Browning, Aqua Zumba is both a resistance training and cardio workout. Your heart rate may not get as high with Aqua Zumba because of the water, but you still burn hundreds of calories per hour. You also can build more muscle mass with Aqua Zumba because you resist the water with each move.
According to an interview with certified trainer Kim Truman in “Shape Magazine,” Aqua Zumba can burn about 700 calories per hour for the average woman. In comparison, Zumba on dry land burns an average of 9.5 calories per minute, or 570 calories per hour, according to the American Council on Exercise.
While Aqua Zumba may be a blast, it isn’t the best way to blast calories in the pool. Aqua Zumba is typically done in chest-high water, so you don’t get the high calorie burn that comes from treading water -- 888 calories in an hour for a 185-pound person. Other pool activities, such as water polo or swimming the butterfly stroke, can burn upward of 900 calories in an hour. Even less vigorous strokes, such as the backstroke, can burn 710 calories per hour for a 185-pound person.
Swimmers try to move with the water, but Aqua Zumba works against the water to create a resistance-training workout. According to the American Council on Exercise, some classes create a current in the water by having everyone in the class move in the same direction, then suddenly switch directions so you have to work against it. Even without an artificial current, every move is harder during Aqua Zumba than it is on land because you are fighting the resistance of the water.
Not all Aqua Zumba classes willlast an hour, so your caloric burn will not always be the same. Aqua Zumba classes usually have you dance along to high-energy songs, often allowing for a short rest period between them. To step up your workout, tread water or do underwater jumping jacks while the teacher is setting up the next song. Make sure you also use that time to sneak over to your water bottle on the edge of the pool -- you may not feel thirsty because you aren’t sweating, but your body still needs to be hydrated.