Fun Pool Exercises to Burn More Calories
Written By: Laura Williams, M.S.Ed.
When you’re looking for a way to stay cool in the summer while still breaking a sweat, a swimming pool is the obvious choice. Not only do you get to beat the heat while having fun, swimming is a great way to burn calories while using the resistance of the water to stretch and strengthen your muscles. You don’t have to settle for just lap swimming, though! Instead, hit the waves for a few other forms of aquatic exercise.
Water Exercise Classes
Today’s water exercise classes are not your Grandma’s water aerobics routines! With more people turning to aquatics facilities to start their exercise routines or rehab after sports injuries, the industry has responded with a wide variety of class options. From high intensity deep water aerobics to Aqua Zumba and even aquatic cycling classes, there’s something for everyone! While class offerings vary from facility to facility, the best way to investigate what’s available is to pick up the phone and start making calls. Check with your local swimming pools, recreation centers and even universities to see which programs are available in your area.
Water Walking or Water Jogging
If you’re a dedicated walker or runner that needs a break from the road, or if you’re looking for a low-impact exercise routine that’s appropriate for the non-swimmer, you may want to hit the pool for your walking or jogging workout. Not only will walking in the water prevent the pounding stress of land-based exercise, there are lots of other benefits to water walking and jogging:
- It’s appropriate for all ability levels because
- It requires little training or acclimation… seriously, just get in the water and go!
- You can use the shallow or deep end
- You burn as many calories walking or jogging in the water as you do on land as long as you move your arms and legs at the same pace
- It’s a great way to bond with friends because your head remains above water – just grab a buddy and hit the pool to workout and catch up at the same time
- If you’re sidelined from traditional walking or jogging due to an injury, you can actually maintain your cardiovascular fitness while continuing to challenge the same muscles groups. This means you can return to pre-injury workouts more quickly.
Build Your Own Workout
If you’re the type who is looking for a full body pool workout that you can do on your own, there’s no reason you need to head to a class or deal with the monotony of water walking or lap swimming. Just choose a few simple exercises and string them into a water circuit routine. As an example, try each of the following exercises for two minutes before moving on to the next exercise. Perform the circuit three times for a full-body toning workout!
- Water Jogging: As detailed above, jog back and forth across your pool as fast as you can. This works best in water that’s at least waist deep.
- Squat Jump: In water that’s approximately waist deep, place your feet shoulder-width apart and sit back as though you were sitting in a chair. When your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, swing your arms up into the air and simultaneously jump as high as you can out of the water. Land softly with knees bent and immediately repeat the exercise, performing the jump continuously for two minutes.
- Kickboard Push & Pull: In shoulder-deep water, hold both short sides of a kickboard with your arms extended in front of the chest so that the kickboard’s edge slices through the water and is submerged perpendicular to the water’s surface. As you walk back and forth across the pool, alternate between pulling the board into your chest, then pushing it out, using the water’s resistance to work your back and chest.
Note: If you don’t have a kickboard, any flotation device will work, from a pool noodle to a submerged basketball.
- Floating V-Sit: With your back to the pool wall, sit down in the water until your shoulders are at the water’s surface and extend your arms along the wall, grasping the edge for balance. Keeping your shoulders against the wall and your torso angled downward into the water, lift your legs, drawing them toward the surface from your hips so that your toes point up out of the water. Your body forms a wide “V” in this position. Tighten your abs and bend your knees, drawing them into your chest as your torso angles deeper into the water, forming a narrow “V”. Return to start and continue for two minutes.
See: Workout Plans
There are endless exercises you can perform when using the water’s resistance, so get creative and have fun! Just remember that it’s important to keep water safety in mind. Never swim alone, and always respect your own limits. Wear flotation devices when necessary and be sure to keep water on hand! It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re surrounded by it, but even in a pool, you’ll still be breaking a sweat, so drink up!
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