Water Fitness Workouts in San Diego

As San Diego heats up, exercising outside may get a little less enjoyable. Beat the heat and stay fit in a swimming pool! Taking your exercise time to the pool is the perfect way to stay cool, refreshed, and healthy this summer. We’ve compiled a list of water fitness workouts offered throughout San Diego County as well as health tips, exercise ideas, and other tips to make your workout enjoyable and successful!



San Diego County offers numerous facilities that provide water fitness classes designed for every skill set.

  • The City of San Diego Water Fitness Program

The Water Fitness program is offered at most of the city’s 13 swimming pools.  For a complete list of pools and class schedules visit the City of San Diego’s Fitness Program schedule.


  • UC San Diego Recreation

UC San Diego offers swim lessons for adults and children, conditioning, and water fitness workouts. For more information visit the UCSD Recreation site!


  • The YMCA

The YMCA offers a variety of classes based on flexibility, cardio, core stability, balance, strength, and cognitive health. Find out more information on the different classes offered and schedules.


  • 24 Hour Fitness

The following locations offer water aerobics classes:


  • Fit Athletic

A variety of water workout classes are offered at the Downtown and Carmel Mountain locations.



Water-based exercises are a great alternative to traditional land-based exercises. Water workouts bring unique benefits that will have you feeling cool and healthy!


  • Low Impact. If you are recovering from a recent injury or have weak joints, water exercises are the perfect activity to regain strength, improve posture and balance, and ease stiff joints. Water exercises reduces the pressure and weight on your back and knees, making it therapeutic for those suffering with joint weakness or injuries.
  • Cooling exercise. On a hot sunny day, exercising in a pool is the perfect way to cool down and stay physically fit!
  • Increase your strength. According to an article published by American Fitness, you’re working against 12 times the resistance of air when exercising in the water.
  • Build endurance. Rather than pushing and pulling traditional weights, water resistance requires the body to move through the water.
  • Burn calories. Think about it, have you ever walked in a pool? It requires a lot more strength and effort than walking on land. According to the Aquatic Exercise Association, you can burn 400 to 500 calories per one-hour class.
  • Mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals with fibromyalgia may experience improved mood while exercising in warm water. In addition, like any regular exercise, water fitness workouts stimulate the brain and reduce stress.


Water Exercise Ideas

If you have a pool in your backyard or there is a public pool nearby, jump in and work out!

  • Water exercise classes: Choose the difficulty level and your workout plan.
  • Flutter kick: Hold on to the edge of the pool or paddleboard and kick your legs behind you. Keep splashing minimal, try your best to keep your legs underwater.
  • Jog in place: The deeper the water, the harder it gets! For beginners, start in the shallow end of the pool.
  • Scissor press: Lunge position—flex knees, jump and switch legs. Extend your arms to the sides at the water’s surface, press your arms down to your sides and back up to the surface. Add some challenge: water paddles, or hand buoys.
  • Step push-ups: Slowly bend elbows without getting your face wet
  • Double leg lift: Leaning back on pool edge, lower legs straight down and raise them as high as you can, keeping legs perfectly straight.
  • Noodle crunch: This involves a pool noodle. Place the noodle under your shoulders and pull your abs in and complete a crunch.


Scripps AMG Water Exercise Tips

Keep these tips in mind before, during, and after you dive in!

  • Don’t overdo it! Sometimes beginners will go too hard when starting new water fitness workouts, which may lead to injuries. Start slowly and progress gradually. Remember, water acts as a natural resistant, intensifying every move.
  • Stay hydrated. You may feel as if you don’t have to drink as much water because you are already in the water and it’s hard to tell when you’re sweating. Bring a water bottle and make sure you hydrate during and after your workout.
  • Bring your swim cap. Some public swimming pools require you to use a swim cap. This is to avoid clogging drains and filters with stray hairs.
  • Don’t forget the essentials: sunscreen, towel, goggles, and water shoes. Be sure to check if the class requires you to bring additional gear.
  • If you are not a strong swimmer, we recommend that you practice your exercises in the shallow end of the pool.
  • Work out with a partner and make sure a lifeguard is on duty if possible. This will reduce the chances of sustaining an injury and not being able to support yourself.


There’s nothing better than hanging out at the pool on a hot summer day. Even if you don’t have a pool in your backyard, there are many spots throughout San Diego that offer water fitness workouts. Not only will the forgiving water environment alleviate pressure on bones and joints, water workouts will have you feeling fresh, healthy, and satisfied.

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