Written September 13, 2013
Addicted to indoor cycling and its awesome benefits? There’s a workout that’s just as effective—and way easier on your body. While physical therapists and Europeans jumped on the fitness trend years ago, fitness centers across the country are now offering aqua cycling, an indoor cycling class you do in a pool.
As you might imagine, aqua cycling is a far cry from the indoor cycling you know and love. See, unlike regular and stationary bikes, aqua cycles have no wheels, gears, or knobs. Instead, they rest on the pool floor and use waist-high water for resistance—the faster you pedal, the harder it gets.
“If you’re used to spinning on land or indoor cycling, it feels bizarre because of the buoyancy,” says Esther Gauthier, owner of Aqua Studio NY, a five-month-old aqua cycling studio in New York City. This takes the impact off your joints, but forces you to engage your core much more, she says. Another difference: Floating makes it tough to cycle, so you have to pump your legs forward and backward instead of up and down.
At Aqua Studio NY, a certified instructor leads you through each 45-minute interval class, which includes a warm up, four different cycling positions, under-water arm exercises, and stretching, all set to upbeat music. The constant movement boosts your heart rate and torches up to 800 calories per hour, says Gauthier, while the pressure from the water massages your muscles to stimulate blood flow and help your body heal. The result: A holistic workout that leaves you feeling tighter—not terribly sore—and super relaxed, she says.
The under-water workout is awesome for just about anyone, whether you’re injured or sore from training; pregnant; trying to shape up; or just wishing you got more wear out of the swimsuits you bought this summer. Ready to give it a shot? To find a local pool that offers aqua cycling, Google “hydrorider” or “aqua cycling” in your area.