Underwater Workouts

by Becca Hensley
Underwater workout

Our attraction to water is primal. We’re drawn to its role as metaphorical oasis, something that remains in our collective unconsciousness from the times humans once lumbered through the wilderness looking to assuage our thirst.

Today, we know that negative ions, those invisible molecules that we breathe in at beaches, stream-side, near waterfalls and lakes—even while enjoying man-made fountains or swimming pools—enter our bloodstream and produce biochemical reactions that help relieve stress, mitigate depression and increase our energy. And, that’s just what happens when we lie still near water. Imagine what happens when we exercise in it!

From increasing muscle strength and flexibility to building endurance, palliating joint pressure and burning calories, water workouts can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. Here is a list of spa programs that prove H20 is more than a hydrating beverage.


Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin

Celebrating its 20th birthday this year, lakehouse-themed Lake Austin Spa enlivens the water’s shore, 30 minutes from Austin, with style. Guests who choose to be swept to the spa via a new water taxi from downtown immediately have the opportunity to comprehend the spa’s commitment to the curative power of water during this arrival sojourn.

At the resort, lake play abounds, with courses from aqua jogging to Aqua Zumba to Aqua Tabata in the expansive Pool Barn. Here, you can train, too, for the swimming portion of a triathlon with a bona fide expert. SUP on beautiful Lake Travis goes without saying.


Shangri La Rasa Ria Kota Kinabalu, Borneo

Overlooking the crystalline waters of the South China Sea, this lush rainforest resort draws tourists for its eco-friendly championship golf course, exotic locale and coterie of freely roaming orangutans—which can be observed at the hotel’s ranger-helmed observation center.

With a spa that borrows from local knowledge, and treatments that utilize body masks made from herbs, rice grain, lime and egg whites, the hotel also encourages guests to get wet in the copious pool with underwater aerobics classes, plus water polo and basketball face offs.


JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, San Antonio

Everything’s bigger in Texas—including the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, which reigns as the biggest JW Marriott in the world. A sprawling property that offers manifold experiences for every sort of traveler, it boasts four swimming pools, including an 1,100-foot lazy river. There, serious swimmers and the otherwise intrepid can stroke against the current in an extreme, organized workout, which takes place in the morning before the pools open for the day. In the Lantana Spa pool, try the Aqua Tone class. Have kids? Join your tot for the Baby and Me Workout in the main swimming hole.


Marquis Los Cabos, Los Cabos

Set on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, Marquis Los Cabos reigns as one of the area’s first resorts. Adorned with various, bedazzling works by Mexican artists, with open-air architecture, this all-adult, all-inclusive, personable resort takes full advantage of its unique where-desert-meets-sea location.

While its award-winning, 13,000-square-foot spa, specializing in locally inspired treatments, lures guest indoors, you’ll want to splash, too, in any of three eye-catching pools. Take the intense Aqua Gym class, a water aerobic program at the main pool that uses resistance to burn calories and tone muscles. You’ll earn your guacamole.


Banyan Tree, Phuket

At this all villa sanctuary on the Andaman Sea, every capacious suite has its own pool. Still you’ll want to explore the property. Tee off on the award-garnering golf course, luxuriate in the open-air spa and learn to make Pad Thai in a cooking class. Surrounded by gardens, the 40-meter lap pool glistens in the sun. There, get your heart pumping with an H20 specialist, whose stellar personal training includes guiding you through heart-pumping stints in courses such as underwater spinning, beneath surface running and watery elliptical.


Le Blanc Spa Resort, Cancun

On the beach, just 30 minutes from the airport, the glamorous, all-inclusive Le Blanc offers so many options, you’d be forgiven for forgetting to remember your at-home fitness routine. But, this all-white hotel concept, which welcomes you with flutes of coconut water upon arrival, complete with a grand spa and a variety of restaurants, keeps you focused on the prize. A variety of wellness classes enhance your stay, but the aqua spinning class (and you thought terra firma spinning was challenging?) will awaken your glutes with a bang. A huge hydrotherapy pool and various made-for-water workouts add H20 pizzazz.


Hotel del Coronado, San Diego

Answer the call of the siren. At the more than century old, iconic Hotel del Coronado, you can train as mermaids would. Mermaid Fitness, offered at the Beach Villa Pool, each Friday at 8 a.m. takes aerobics to a whole other “scale.” Wearing colorful mermaid tails, meant to enliven the legs and core, participants swish and paddle through a 45-minute fusion of aerobics, cardio and strength training. After, linger in the Spa at the Del for a well-deserved deep tissue massage.

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