We compared responses from postmenopausal women living a sedentary lifestyle (n = 15; Mean age= 59; SD = 4.2) to a single bout of water- or land-based exercise with respect to ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), lactate concentration, and muscle oxygen saturation. Each participant was randomly assigned to a single water- or land-based 50-minute bout of combined aerobic and resistance exercise. Blood samples were collected to detect pre- and post-exercise lactate concentration. Total hemoglobin, deoxidized hemoglobin, and the percentage change in the total oxygen saturation index (TSI%) of the rectus femoris were detected by means of near-infrared spectroscopy. We found similar RPE at various stages of land- and water-based exercise, and a similar change in lactate concentration in these environments (in water: 4.35 ± 1.49 mol/L; on land: 3.62 ± 1.18 mol/L). However, the reduction in HHb response was less pronounced after water-based exercise, and TSI% increased on land but decreased in water, with the magnitude of this change much higher on land. For similar RPE and lactate concentration, the oxygen saturation in the exercising muscles decreased in water, suggesting higher oxygen consumption in water than on land.