ABC Your Move: How water aerobics can help your health and fitness

As the ABC launches the Your Move campaign, to help Australians explore their health and fitness journey, reporter Marnie Vinall hits the road to try some of the growing exercise trends around the country.

Every time I go for a swim at my local pool and water aerobics classes are on at the same time, I feel a tinge of envy as they bop up and down to ABBA tracks, while I do freestyle laps back and forth.

It seems like the much, much more fun option.

So, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go, especially as I’ve now hit the age where my knees start to hurt when I run too much.

I reached out to Jennifer Schembri-Portelli, registered aqua exercise instructor and personal trainer, who has been teaching water aerobics classes for over 20 years.

She told me to come down to take a class at Sandhurst Club, where she was teaching that night and I enthusiastically accepted.

Before I came down, however, she gave me the run down of what the activity was all about.

She told me that the buoyancy of the water supports the body and decreases the stress placed on joints while you move, which can increase the range of motion.

“For people who want to exercise on land, they are restricted by gravity and their knees and their joints, but when they’re in the water, their ability is enhanced… we find that people who can exercise in a limited fashion on land, but they can increase their cardiovascular fitness more in the water,” she said.

Schembri-Portelli also noted aqua fitness is good for all ages, as resistance can be increased by speed in the water to make exercises more challenging.