Why are most women in water fitness classes always obese?

I’ve always noted this phenomenon, but finally decided it would make for an interesting article after I caught this exact question in a fitness forum.

There are several reasons why most people (meaning just about all) in water aerobics or “aquasize” classes are obese.

Obesity is defined as being at least 20% over one’s desired weight for their gender, age and height.

Morbid obesity refers to being at least 100 pounds overweight.

As for group water exercise classes, there are sometimes men participating.

Nevertheless, most of the men, too, are very heavy. 

Being Around Other Like Women

The obese woman know that in a water workout environment, they will be surrounded by other women “just like me.”

This slashes the gym intimidation factor. The women will not feel different or self-conscious.

Water aerobics take place in a separate area of the gym, sometimes not readily observable by people working out in main areas.

Though people do frequently walk through the wet area to and from locker rooms, if they’re buff or lean, they’re actually the “outcasts” in that particular room!

Hence, fat or overweight water class participants will feel very little, if at all, self-consciousness upon being seen in the pool by Miss Physique walking by.

Gentle on Joints

Water aerobics are gentle on the joints, allowing the obese participant to jump or hop around.

Some participants may have orthopedic issues such as osteoarthritis, which would make a standard step aerobics class painful.

What’s interesting is that very often, the obese people you see as regulars in the water classes, won’t do any standard weight workouts, which can actually be very gentle on joints, depending on the type of exercise.

Though some degree of resistance is offered by the aqua aerobics instructor (e.g., pushing Styrofoam “dumbbells” through the water), this hardly compares to dry-land weight workouts such as seated chest presses, seated leg presses, seated rows and lat pull-downs.

Water aerobics is always good for the soul, if for no other reason, with its refreshing atmosphere of glistening, buoyant water.

But for best results (fat loss, improved cardio function, firmer muscles, stronger bones), the moderately overweight, and obese, woman and man should include dry-land resistance training, as well as dry-land cardio (bike, elliptical, track walking, etc.) — rather than do only water aerobics.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.