Pool exercises are a great way to lose weight without breaking a sweat. What's more, they offer a refreshing alternative to boring laps and they're easier on your joints than traditional land exercises.
Benefits of Pool Exercises
Why limit yourself to a swimming pool's lanes when you can burn fat and calories working out in different parts of the water? Aquatic exercises are designed to keep you moving in a variety of ways, so that you won't lose interest in your pursuit of a better body.
In addition to being highly effective and fun, pool exercises yield a litany of other benefits, including:
Water provides resistance and buoyancy. Subsequently, exercising in a pool can be safer and more comfortable for people who are severely overweight or who suffer from muscle and joint problems. Since water helps support a person's weight and provides resistance to slow movements, you are much less likely to injure yourself working out in a pool.
Doctors often recommend patients with arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia work out in water in an effort to ease the pain associated with their conditions. Pool exercises are low-impact, so people suffering with pain can get in their daily workouts without aggravating their injuries.
Promotes Overall Health
In addition to strengthening your arms and legs, pool exercises help you build core muscles. Water's constant motion forces a person to employ trunk and back muscles to stay upright and balanced. This repeated action helps tone your body's core muscles and promotes better balance and agility.
Pool workouts are a popular trend in the fitness world. Group aquatic exercise classes are available at public and private pools and are open to people of all fitness levels. More advanced classes incorporate Pilates, kickboxing and strength training, while basic pool exercise classes concentrate on cross-training and building endurance.
Popular Pool Exercises
You don't have to spend a lot of money to reap the benefits of pool exercises. If you don't feel comfortable signing up for a group water aerobics class or you don't have the means to join a swim club, then go at it alone.
The following popular pool exercises will help you burn calories and build muscle:
This simple exercise is familiar to many. Start by standing in shoulder-deep water with your feet flat and your arms relaxed by your sides. Next, bend your knees and jump up off the bottom of the pool as high as you can. As you leap up, kick your legs out to the sides pointing your toes down and swinging your arms up above your head, so that your palms touch at the top. You should land with knees bent and feet apart. End the move by jumping up again and bringing your feet back together and your arms by your sides. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
This exercise requires a medium-size rubber ball. Stand in chest-deep water with your feet apart and your arms extended straight in front of you. Hold the ball in your hands while breathing rhythmically. On the count of three, push the ball under the water and swing it into a figure eight pattern through the water. You should be able to feel the varying resistance on your arms and upper body. Concentrate on maintaining your balance and moving the ball smoothly through the water. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
To complete this easy exercise stand in shoulder-deep water and hold onto the edge of the pool for balance. Point your toes and extend your right leg straight out to the side as far up as you can. Keep your hips toward the pool's wall and don't let your ankle turn. Repeat 10 to 12 times. Next, switch legs and repeat movement with left leg.
This pool exercise requires a foam water noodle. Place the noodle behind your back while standing in chest-deep water. Lean back on noodle and angle your body to one side. Place your knees together, one on top of the other and bend your legs. Keeping your feet together, open the top knee and then bring your knees together again. Flip over and do the same on the other side. Repeat 15 times on each side. You should feel the exercise work your hip flexors, glutes, quads and inner and outer thigh muscles.
Stand in chest-deep water and march in place. Make continuous strides, extending your arms and legs as far as you can. The water's resistance will keep you moving in slow motion. Stretch your limbs, point your toes and pull your arms vigorously back and forth. Start by marching for two minutes and resting for one minute. Increase the time, as you get more comfortable with the exercise. The move is more challenging in deep water and less in shallow water.