Summer’s here and the time is right for hopping into the pool for your next workout. No pool in your backyard? No problem? You can dip into your local community pool, one at the local college or high school, a pond or lake (critter-free if possible) or your neighbor’s hot tub and get a great workout in 15-20 minutes!
Water workouts help with strength, cardiovascular conditioning and flexibility. All while keeping you cool when the temps rise. So grab your suit, a towel and a buddy and jump right in. (Note – please do not attempt a water alone or if you are not a strong swimmer).
Common equipment used in water fitness classes are foam belts to keep you buoyant, foam dumbbells, kickboards, pull buoys, and gloves. Classes at aquatic centers, gyms or community centers should provide any equipment you need.
Here are some exercises you can try, courtesy of Healthline.
1. Walk in water
Walking in water is a good exercise to start off with as it helps you get a feeling for how you can create resistance. Walking in water can target your arms, core, and lower body. You can increase the intensity by using hand or ankle weights.
- Start off walking in shallow water, around waist height.
- Lengthen your spine and walk by putting pressure on your heel first and then your toes, instead of walking on your tiptoes.
- Keep your arms at your side, in the water, and move them as you walk.
- Engage your core and stand tall as you walk.
- Continue walking for 5-10 minutes.
2. Water arm lifts
This exercise will help strengthen the muscles in your arms. Using foam dumbbells will help add more resistance.
- Stand in water up to your shoulders.
- Hold the dumbbells at your side, with your palms facing up.
- Draw your elbows in close to your torso as you lift your forearms to the height of the water.
- Rotate your wrists to turn your palms facedown.
- Lower your arms back to the starting position.
- Do 1-3 sets of 10-15 reps for each exercise.
3. Lateral arm lifts
This exercise, which targets your upper body, is also best done with foam dumbbells.
- Stand in water up to your shoulders.
- Hold the dumbbells at your side.
- Raise your arms to the side until they’re level with the water and your shoulders.
- Lower your arms back down to your sides.
- Do 1-3 sets of 8-14 repetitions.
4. Back wall glide
This exercise helps to activate the muscles in your core and lower body.
- Hold onto the pool ledge, tuck your knees into your chest, and press your feet into the wall.
- Push off from the wall and float on your back as far as you can.
- Draw your knees into your chest, press your feet down to the bottom of the pool, and run back to the wall.
- Continue this exercise for 5-10 minutes.
5. Jumping jacks
Jumping jacks work the muscles in both your upper and lower body. You can add resistance with wrist and ankle weights.
- Stand in water at chest level.
- Start with your feet together and your arms at your side.
- Jump by moving your legs outward and, at the same time, bringing your arms over your head.
- Jump again to return to the starting position with your feet together and your arms at your side.
- Do 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.
6. Leg shoots
This dynamic exercise works your core, low back, and legs.
- Keep your feet off the bottom of the pool during this exercise.
- Tuck your knees into your chest.
- Explosively press your feet and legs out in front and float flat on your back.
- Draw your knees back into your chest.
- Press your legs out behind you so you’re floating on your stomach.
- This is 1 repetition. Do 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.
7. High-knee lift extensions
This exercise can strengthen the muscles in your core and lower body. Add ankle weights to increase the difficulty.
- Stand in water at waist height.
- Engage your core as you lift your right leg, bending your knee until your leg is level with the water.
- Pause with your leg lifted for a few seconds.
- Extend your leg straight out and hold this position for a few seconds.
- Slowly lower your leg down, keeping it straight.
- Repeat this move with your left leg.
- Continue for 5-10 minutes.
8. Leg kicks
This exercise works the muscles in your core and legs. Use ankle weights to make it more challenging.
- Hold onto the pool ledge or hold a kickboard.
- Flutter-kick your legs.
- Scissor-kick your legs open and closed.
- Do a breaststroke kick with your legs.
- Follow with dolphin kicks.
- Do each kick for 1-3 minutes.
If this type of class doesn’t float your boat, crank up some tunes, hop in the pool and dance or move around to your favorite songs! I mean, it is summer after all.
Now go run!