New aqua cycle fitness trend makes a splash

aqua cycle
on the crest of a wave: the exercise appeals to people of all ages and abilities

Aquatic exercise has long been thought of as the domain of the elderly or injured – all floral bathing caps and gentle bobbing. Now a fresh fad has established underwater exercise on the mainstream fitness scene. Aqua cycling promises a full-body workout with the potential to burn up to 800 calories per hour. In short, this is not your grandmother’s work out.

What is it?

Think standard spin class submerged in a swimming pool. Aqua cycle was developed in Italy as a form of rehabilitation, but was soon introduced in mainstream fitness studios when trainers realised the water’s resistance made for great fat-burning potential.

How does it work?

Aqua Fit Pro operates one-hour CYCL’H20 classes that combine high-intensity spin and circuit training performed on bikes specially designed for underwater use. Expect all the moves from your traditional spin class, plus push-ups, triceps dips and crunches to get your body burning.

Why all the fuss?

For starters, the water makes you work harder. Aqua Fit Pro Director Malcom Mbombo says you can burn up to 800 calories in one CYCL’H20 class because the water’s resistance increases your heart rate. “The water creates a lymphatic massage for your muscles, which breaks down fat and reduces cellulite,” he says. This high-intensity, body sculpting workout has fitness fanatics diving in.

Mbombo says that while the high-intensity of the workout attracts a young female demographic, its low-impact on joints means it’s also ideal for people with low mobility. “We get a lot of women who are pregnant and people with injuries because it’s excellent for rehabilitation. The massaging effect of the water also means you’re less likely to feel muscle soreness after a class.”

How much?

CYCL’H20 classes start from £10 for beginners, and £20 thereafter.

Where can I try it?

Nuffield Health, 4 Cousin Lane, EC4 R3XJ or check for other locations.