10/24/2012 09:37 am ET Updated Dec 24, 2012

Aqua Zumba: Fitness In The Water?

What We Tried: Aqua Zumba

Where: New York Health & Racquet Club

Where Else Is It Available: Certified Aqua Zumba instructors hold classes across the country. Find a class near you here.

What We Did: After a quick warm-up of "walking laps," we began underwater calisthenics, resistance moves and dance moves.

For How Long: Classes vary; ours was about 45 minutes long.

How'd It Feel: Not very strenuous, but fun with a dash of nostalgia: Who doesn't remember the chlorine-y universe of early childhood swim classes? I have visceral memories of the slimy, navy blue kickboards we used to learn paddling technique at my pool in Palo Alto.

In any case, my co-worker Sarah and I showed up, not sure who we would find in the pool with us. About six middle-aged women and one young man joined us, though I overheard the man explaining to his neighbor that he was there as part of his recovery from a sports injury. Our instructor, dressed in a swimsuit, though standing at the pool's edge took us through a number of exercises that were part aerobics (jumping jacks, arm rotations), part dance (hip swivels, belly dancing) and part lap exercises. She played upbeat, fast-tempo salsa and bachata music, whooping into the mic and offering encouragement. She demonstrated each movement and then we mirrored it in unison, thankfully and safely beneath the water's obscuring surface.

Using the water as resistance, we worked our biceps and triceps through the arm exercises. During laps, we used our abdominal muscles to move our legs through the water without touching the floor or walls. At one point, we even used noodles to create a makeshift bicycle and cycle-kicked our way across the pool.

What Fitness Level Is Required: Minimal. By the end I hadn't gotten winded once, didn't break a sweat and didn't even feel sore the next day. But it was fun and enjoyable.

What It Helps With: Aqua Zumba's close cousin, water aerobics, is often associated with seniors because the water is particularly well-suited to older bodies: it's easy on the joints and provides the resistance training required to help stem the muscle mass loss we all experience as we age. Similarly, this would be a really good option for those who are just getting into shape or in recovery.

What's It Cost: Free for NYHRC members, $25 for non-members. Prices vary nationwide.

Would We Go Back: Honestly? Probably not. I enjoyed it, but I need a little more bang for my buck.

Check out some photos of Aqua Zumba below and listen to some of the tracks from instructor Taryn Hitchman's playlist.

Aqua Zumba

Interested? Here's more on pool safety:

Swimming Questions, Answered

For more We Tried Its, click here.

For more on fitness and exercise, click here.