Get Fit with Water Walking: Is Walking in the Lazy River a Good Exercise?

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  01.02.2023
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Water is a lot thicker than air, which means that when you’re walking in water, you’re getting a much more intense workout because of friction. Add the extra friction of the lazy river and you’ll be strengthening your muscles and be burning more calories than you would on land.

Plus, water walking is a low-impact cardio exercise, so it’s much gentler on your bones and joints than other exercises. That makes it a great option for pregnant women, people recovering from an injury, seniors, and anyone new to exercise.

Is water walking in a lazy river good exercise

The Science Behind Water Walking

A study from 2015 found that walking in water can raise your heart rate more than walking on land, giving your heart and lungs a good workout. Another study found that water walking can help lower blood pressure, especially for those new to exercise. And a study of patients with spinal stenosis showed that 12 weeks of water walking improved their balance and muscle function.

So What Are You Waiting For?

It’s time to take the plunge and get your feet wet! Water walking is a great way to get a full-body workout without putting too much strain on your body. So grab your swimsuit, fill up the pool, and get ready to get fit!

When you walk against the current in a lazy river, you add extra friction to your workout making it even more intense.

If you walk with the current, you take a little of that friction away, making it a much easier and less intense workout.

Making Waves

Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to make a splash! As you walk in water, make sure you:

  • Keep your torso upright without leaning too far forward or to either side
  • Step with a long stride
  • Press into your heel first before rolling your weight onto your toes
  • Swing your arms as you walk

Diving Deeper

If you’re feeling confident and want to take your water walking to the next level, you can start to move into deeper water. Start off slowly and gradually increase your speed as you go. Before you know it, you’ll be walking on water like a pro!

Get Creative with Your Water Walking in the lazy river

High Knees

Do you want to take your water walking to the next level? Well, you can start by lifting those knees higher! This variation of water walking will help you work your core, glutes, hip flexors and leg muscles. Here’s how to do it:

  • Engage your core and lift your right knee as high as you can.
  • At the same time, raise your left arm.
  • Switch and do the same with your left knee and right arm.

Walking Lunges

If you’re looking to work your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes, then you should definitely try out walking lunges. Make sure the water is at waist level, and then follow these steps:

  • Step forward with your right foot.
  • Lower your front thigh so it’s parallel to the bottom of the pool.
  • Make sure your right knee is in line with, but not over, your ankle.
  • Keep your back leg straight.
  • Bring your left foot forward, and continue by stepping forward with your left leg.

Sideways Walking

This variation of water walking is great for targeting your inner and outer thigh muscles. Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand sideways with your right hip leading.
  • Step your right foot to the side.
  • Bring your left foot to meet your right.
  • Continue like this until you get to the end of the pool.
  • Walk back with your left hip leading.

Get Fit and Have Fun in the Sun-n-Fun Lagoon Lazy River

Low-Impact Resistance Exercises

Are you looking for a way to get fit without all the impact of running or jogging? There even is a park where they incorporated a lazy river into the fitness routine: the Sun-n-Fun Lagoon Lazy River Water Walking class at North Collier Regional Park.

You’ll get to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the park while doing low-impact resistance exercises that will help you get fit and stay healthy.

Experimenting with Exercises

The lifeguards at the park, Eric Thompson and Dawn Hickey, are always experimenting with new exercises to keep the class interesting and challenging. You’ll get to do things like the “washing machine” (it’s like the Twist from the 60s!), and you’ll even get to take a ride on a raft at the end of the class!


How many calories do you burn walking in a lazy river?

Walking in a lazy river is an awesome way to get your heart rate up and burn some serious calories. In fact, you can burn up to 550 calories an hour just by strolling in the pool’s lazy river. That’s like running a 5K without ever leaving the pool! So if you’re looking for a fun and effective way to get your sweat on, water walking in a lazy river is a great option. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting too hot or too tired – you can take it at your own pace and enjoy the scenery as you go. So grab your swimsuit and get ready to burn some serious calories!


In conclusion, walking in the lazy river is an excellent way to get a low-impact workout that can help you burn calories, improve your balance and muscle function, and even lower your blood pressure. Plus, it’s a great way to have fun and challenge yourself in the water! Just remember to keep your form in check, use the variations to mix it up.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Kauai Surf Report is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new sports with everything surfing at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2019 to help loyal readers with surfing and water sporting tips.