If the doggy paddle and dead man’s float are your strongest swimming skills, the pool may seem off limits for your workout regime. But just because you can’t butterfly stroke like Michael Phelps doesn’t mean you can’t use the water to lose weight.
Why work out in the water instead of on land? “Why not?,” is probably the better question! An H2O workout helps keep your body temp in check (unless you’re exercising in a hot tub, that is, which is not recommended), allows you to work out longer with less stress on your joints and muscles, provides a natural resistance without any props or equipment, and can make you feel like a kid again.
Now that you’re ready to get your feet wet, suit up and dive right into these pool exercises!
Leg Kicks: Channel your inner Rockette, and get kicking! In chest-deep water, standing away from the pool walls, tighten your abs and raise your straightened leg to waist height. Alternate lifting each leg ten to 12 times. To make the exercise easier, use a wall for balance or only kick to mid-shin height. To make it more difficult and raise your heart rate, add a bounce to your stance instead of standing still.
Water Jogging: If you struggle with running on land because of the aches and pains caused by striking foot to asphalt, then you’ll be amazed at how water jogging can absorb the shock better than any pair of cross trainers. The technique in water is the same as on land, but you’ll be likely going a lot slower. Unless you have skin of steel, water shoes are recommended to protect your feet from turning raw.
Water Jumping: Jumping jacks, tuck jumps (think of a cannonball position), and squat jumps (where you squat low and explode high) are pretty amazing all-body workouts. Yet doing them on land can be a jolt to the joints. Try these jumps in belly- to chest-deep water, and see how much air…er, water, you can get.
Aquatic Dumbbells: Made of foam and shaped just like the dumbbells of metal, aquatic dumbbells can give a great upper body workout. All the exercises you do with the metal version–bicep curls, hammer curls, dumbbell flies, straight arm raises, and tricep extensions–can be done with the foam version. Replace an upper body strength training day in the gym with one in the pool and see how well the water creates resistance.
Noodle Cycling: A kiddie’s toy just became a new workout prop. You can simulate a bike by placing a pool noodle between your legs and sitting on it. In water deep enough so that you’re not touching the bottom (the noodle will help keep you afloat), circle your legs as if pedaling a bike. Use your arms equally for momentum and balance.
Kickboard: Get the feel of a good swim, even if you’re not a good swimmer. A kickboard, also known as balance or swim board, allows you to rest your body on the board and kick your legs to make you move. In a lap pool, use a kickboard alongside those who are swimming laps and you’ll be getting an equally great workout.
V-Sits: Don’t leave your abs out of the wet and wild fun. Water takes away the pain of your spine rubbing against a hard surface. In chest deep water, do your best to float on you back in the water. Drop your butt into the water straight down making a V with your arms and legs. Hold for a second or two before returning to the flat position by raising your hips and extending your hands and feet apart.
There might be only a few weeks left of summer, but thanks to indoor pools, water workouts can be done year round. Jump right in and you’ll see the water feels fine.
What is your favorite way to burn calories in the pool?