These aren't your traditional water aerobics.

H2O cardio is quickly becoming a crowd favorite at the Y. While water cardio group exercise classes are popular with seniors dealing with arthritic or joint pain, they're also great for anyone looking for a low-impact workout, recovering from an injury, or just seeking something new.

Water cardio classes can help you burn between 200-400 calories (depending on which you try!) and use the water's natural resistance to build muscle and strength. Instructors often teach on the pool deck to music, so come ready to let loose! We have classes in both indoor and outdoor pools across our locations.

Expert advice

Jean Chesley, H2O cardio instructor at the Donelson-Hermitage Family YMCA, loves to teach fast-paced water cardio classes that get your heart pumping. You'll find her doing HIIT, Sprint 8, kickboxing, circuits...all in the water. "Some people are able to do things in water that they're incapable of doing on land," she says.

Here's why Jean thinks all members should give water fitness a chance:

Water cardio works for all levels

"Proper depth will absorb 70-90% of someone's body weight. [H2O cardio] is a great introduction to water...period. Non-swimmers shouldn't be afraid, and classes can help their confidence level. Water cardio is also great for helping push out lactic acid. We welcome any age and any level of expertise to participate."

It's low impact

"For me," Jean says, "Water is so natural. Cardio is cardio. I love cardio (especially HIIT), but impact is no longer my cup of tea. I am able to exert the same amount of energy in the water as I could in any other type of workout with equal results. There's also low-to-no fear of falling. Resistance may be achieved through almost every action, with or without equipment."

Instructors are there to help

Jean always briefs new participants on a few things they should know:

  • The water depth should hit mid-upper arm to armpit.
  • If you can't do a particular move, don't do it. You can make something else up—just keep moving.
  • Breathe, smile, and bring some water.
  • Ask for help if you don't know how to perform a move.
  • Have fun!

Join one of Jean's H2O Cardio classes Monday through Saturday at the Donelson-Hermitage Family YMCA. The Y offers water fitness classes all across Middle Tennessee, with Aqua Dance Blast, Arthritis H2O, GlideFit, H2O Cardio, H2O Circuit and Hydrorider. Watch a video about water cardio here.