Training for fitness instructors, swim centre staff, rehabilitation professionals, sports coaches. Learn how deep water running, water aerobics, swimming can be the best low impact exercise to build overall fitness and performance.

Course Code: BRE207
Fee Code: S1
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Study Aqua Fitness – in your own time, add to your skills.

Bring variety to your own exercise, or to your client’s fitness regime!

  • Ease yourself into exercise if you’re recovering from illness or injury

  • Don’t overload the body with high impact training

  • Have fun whilst you exercise, most aqua fitness training is done in groups or teams

  • Be the professional with diverse knowledge of fitness

What you need to know!

  • Aqua fitness has many health benefits

  • Muscle groups are targeted – toned and stretched

  • Muscles undergo resistance and isometric – muscles are strengthened

  • Routines can include the use of weights underwater

  • Resistance of the water increases the effectiveness of the routine

  • Water based exercise are less likely to cause damage to muscles or joints


This is the ideal professional development course, it's comprehensive, it will lead you through:

  1. all the benefits of aqua fitness and how it differs from other exercise,

  2. what you will need to run a class,

  3. the types of exercises and program design, principles of aqua fitness,

  4. health and safety,

  5. and fitness class leadership.

Bring new and innovative techniques to your work for better results.

  • Rehabilitation - physiology, occupational therapy 

  • Sports Coach

  • Physical Education Teacher

  • Personal Trainer

  • Swimming Teacher


Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Scope and Nature of Aqua Exercise
    • Characteristics of Water; Buoyancy, Cooling, Decreased compression forces, Hydrostatic Pressure, Increased Resistance, etc
    • Respiratory Fitness
    • Aquatherapy; for flexibility, strength, muscle re-education, balance, muscle spasms, etc
    • Physiology of an Aqua Exercise Session; stages 1, 2 and 3
    • What Affects Fitness
    • Managing Aqua Facilities
  2. Equipment and Facilities
    • Pool Conditions
    • Pool Design
    • Clientele
    • Atmosphere
    • Financial Constraints
    • Overall Arrangement of Pool Facilities
    • Type of Pool
    • Reception and Office
    • Pool Tank Design and depth
    • Swim Jets, Rails, Rings
    • Pool Renovation
    • Toilet and Locker Room Facilities
    • Water Quality
    • Managing Aquatic Facilities
    • Equipment; kick boards, float belts, goggles, neck supports, flippers, face masks, ear plugs, balls, paddles, floatation bar bells, webbed gloves, stretch chords, weights, mats, aqua lungs
    • Clothing and Sun Protection
    • Hats, Caps, Sunglasses, Heart monitors, Stop Watches, etc
    • Appropriate Student Numbers
    • Music
    • Safety in the Pool
    • Public Pools
    • First Aid
    • Teaching Swimming
    • Life Guards
  3. Types of Exercises
    • Stretching
    • Calf muscles
    • Pectoral girdle
    • Hip flexor
    • Triceps
    • Hamstrings
    • Biceps
    • Quadriceps
    • Lower and upper back
    • Types of Exercises
    • Aerobic Exercise
    • Anaerobic Exercise
    • Exercises for Shallow Water
    • Exercises for Deep Water
    • Deep Water Running
    • Intensity Variables; speed, power, range of movement, elevation
    • Teaching Deep Water Running
    • When You Get in the Water
  4. Hydrostatic and Hydrodynamic Principles
    • General Principles of Aquafitness
    • Specific Gravity, Pressure, Flow, Energy, Momentum
    • Buoyancy in the Water
    • Warm Up
    • Recovery
    • Winding Up an Exercise Session
    • Cool Down Stage
    • Muscle Conditioning
    • Weight in Water
    • Body Alignment in Water
    • Knee Safety
    • Training Heart Rate
  5. Safety & Health
    • Exercises for Special Groups
    • Health Disorders
    • Aged People
    • Overweight People
    • Arthritis, Asthma and Diabetes Sufferers
    • Pregnant Women
    • Fibromyalgia Sufferers
    • Safety and Health
    • Pre Exercise Screening Checklist
    • Legal Liability
    • Insurance
    • Contributory Negligence
    • Occupational Health and Safety
  6. Program Design
    • Requirements to Deliver Appropriate Aqua Based Programs
    • Process for Program Design
    • Improving Cardio Respiratory Fitness
    • Building Strength
    • Improving Flexibility
    • Duration of Sessions
    • Examples of Types of Programs
    • Stages of a Program; Introduction, Warm Up, Main Body, Intensity Levels, Recovery
    • Concluding a Session and Cool Down
    • Writing a Program Plan
  7. Leading a Program
    • Leading a Class
    • When you Teach from the Pool
    • Teaching out of the Pool
    • Teaching both In and Out of the Pool
    • Introducing New People to an Aqua Class
    • Leadership Concepts
    • Leader Communication
    • Common Communication Barriers
    • Appropriate Numbers in a Class
    • Preparing for a Class
    • Tips for Running a Class

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

What You Will Do

  • Gain an understanding of how aquafitness activities differ from other fitness activities.
  • Learn the skills and knowledge which will aid in the selection, use and management of equipment and facilities required for aquafitness activities.
  • Gain an understanding of a wide range of different aerobic and anaerobic movements that can be used in aquafitness programs.
  • Develop an understanding of the principles underlying the design of an appropriate aquafitness program.
  • Develop an understanding of the aquafitness training requirements of special needs groups.
  • Learn and develop knowledge of the importance of the design and skills on how to deliver of appropriate aqua based programs to improve/maintain aerobic fitness.
  • Gain an understanding of skills that will enable better leadership of an aqua fitness session.

Expand your skills - the industry needs aqua fitness instructors now. 

Simply scroll back to the top of this page and follow the prompts on the right side of the screen. Getting started is easy. 



When a person’s body is partly submerged in water, the force of gravity is countered by the buoyancy effect of water (ie. the water pushes you up to the surface - or causes your body to float, countering gravity which pulls you down). The net result is a less jarring effect (than on land) as the body moves up and down. The work load and motion are the same, but the water resistance gives it a feeling of being gentle. This allows a high impact work out with the qualities of a low impact work out. Water is also an excellent medium for exercise for older people. The water in this case acts as a support, allowing movement and flexibility that may not be allowed on dry land.

Water is Cooling
Depending on the temperature of the water; it can remove any heat build up in the body faster than any heat build up that occurs when exercising on land. It is important, however, that the water you are exercising in is not too cool, as you can rapidly lose too much body heat when you are submerged in very cool water.

Compression Forces are Decreased
The weight of the body on land tends to compress joints (eg. Weight above the base of the spine causes the joints at the bottom of the spine to squash together). When the body is immersed in water, these forces of compression are significantly decreased.

Hydrostatic Pressure on the Body is Even
There is equal pressure on the body in all directions around parts of the body at any given depth of water. This means that any damage by sharp or irregular movement is decreased. The water acts as a dampener, buffering & slowing such movements. When the body is immersed in water, these forces of compression are significantly decreased, hence there is less wear and tear on the joints.

Hydrostatic Pressure Can Affect Blood Movement
Any part of the body that is submersed will have a greater pressure on the skin than normal air pressure on the skin is. This situation means that the heart must push blood harder to get it into blood vessels that are close to the skin surface. As the primary goal of exercise is to increase the heart rate, this assists in meeting the criteria more easily. However, it is something that also needs to be watched, especially if any participants have a history of high blood pressure problems.

Increased Resistance to Body Movements
The resistance to movement in water can be around 830 times greater than the resistance to the same movement in air. This is really what water fitness programs are all about. The combination of a greater work load in a softer, more supportive environment makes water exercise ideal for all age groups and fitness levels. Water sport can be very demanding, as can be seen by the health and fitness of elite athletes such as swimmers and triathletes. But it can also be gentle, making it a good type of exercise for nearly anyone, as well as one that can be increased as the level of fitness increases


The lungs can benefit greatly from aqua exercise. Any exercise on land or in the water which increases the heart rate, will in turn increase the depth of breathing. By breathing more deeply, lung capacity is gradually increased. Unlike exercise on land though, the water surrounding the body can help prevent over heating as well as excessive perspiration (and rapid water loss) during heavy exercise.

There are three levels of lung capacity, residual volume, tidal volume and vital capacity. Residual volume is the air still left in the lungs after all air has been breathed out. Even when we have expelled as much air as is physically possible, about 25% of the lungs still hold some air. Tidal volume is the amount of air that is breathed in and out at a regular breathing pattern. Vital capacity is the total capacity of lung available for holding air. It is a sum of the residual volume, the tidal volume and the inspiratory reserve volume, or that air that we can inhale, but is not needed for regular breathing (like taking a deep breath before diving in a pool.)

Swimming is particularly good for increasing lung capacity, because not only is the body stimulated to breathe more by an increased heart rate, but the swimmer tends to take deeper breaths - particularly with underwater or lap swimming. Vital capacity is often much greater in swimmers than in non-swimmers.


Aqua exercise is particularly useful as a therapeutic tool for people recovering from injury, or with some other problem that hampers their ability to exercise on land. Various aspects (eg. surgery, severe pain, different disabilities) can impair a person’s ability to participate in more traditional exercise; whereas aqua exercise if properly prescribed may be a very appropriate alternative. A doctor or physiotherapist should be consulted prior to starting any type of exercises, especially if special conditions do apply. They also may be able to suggest particular exercises to try and those to avoid. Overworking is also a concern, as the water can lessen the impact, but can also mask soreness or pain if muscles are worked too long or hard.

Because the effect of gravity is reduced, the body can move more freely when submerged. This may allow an injured part of the body to be stretched more, with less pain. It is also reduced flexibility, as well as pain from wear and tear, arthritis, etc., that often makes exercise difficult for older adults. Stretching can be very important to enhancing recovery or allowing increased flexibility in movement, both on water and on land. Exercise in the water can therefore, in due course, lead to increased flexibility.

Because water offers greater resistance than air, muscles will be strengthened as they are moved through water. Many of the movements made, especially in aerobic type exercise, will not only increase the heart rate and the aerobic benefits, but this added resistance will increase muscle tone. The same can be said in comparison of swimming versus running. Swimming will give a much better upper body work out, while still using the legs, while in running or jogging the legs benefit (and the arms, to some extent, from swinging in rhythm), but the rest of the body muscles are used very little.

Re-education of Muscles

After surgery or a serious accident, the way in which certain muscles are moved might be altered; and the relevant part of the body may need to be re-taught how to move properly. After a period of reduced (or nil) use, muscles can be very weak, difficult to use, and easily damaged).
This re-education can be much easier in water where the muscles are supported through buoyancy, therefore more easily moved.

The buoyancy of water causes the body to move more slowly, allowing a person more time to adjust to loss of balance. This reduces the chance of injury from falling and increases the coordination of movements. As water will slow down the movement, it is easier to keep good posture and form, which is often a problem in achieving the best results, especially in aerobics.

Muscle Spasms
There are a number of conditions which can cause muscle spasms, some slight, some severe. These include Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis or Strokes. People with such conditions often find movement much easier in water than on land. In addition to the benefit of buoyancy, if the water is relatively warm, the muscles are able to be kept warmer during exercise, and due to improvement in blood circulation there is a resultant decrease in muscle spasms.
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
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This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

John Mason

Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner.
John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.

Kieran McCartney

MA Ed, MSc Sport & Exercise, BA (hons) Leisure , Dip English, Dip Mgt

Tracey Jones (Psychologist)

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE.
Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc.
25 years industry experience in writing, editing, education, psychology, and business. Tracey has several books and hundreds of articles published; in both fiction and non fiction.

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