Swimming Pool Exercises for a Fit, Trim Body
If you have a swimming pool available during the summer months, you have an instant gym that offers an all-over workout even if you hate swimming laps. A few easy exercises can work out your arms, legs, hips, abs and cardiovascular system in less than a half hour. In addition, the weight of the water acts as resistance to provide a better workout for all of the muscles of the body. Water exercise can be particularly helpful for people who have arthritis or other physical conditions that make traditional exercise difficult. Always consult a physician before taking on any new form of exercise.
Swimming Pool Workouts
Tummy crunch jumps
If your abdominal muscles need tightening up and crunches or sit-ups are out of the question because of back problems or other health issues, try a regular schedule of tummy-firming jumps while in the pool. Stand in water about waist high with arms held loosely at your sides. Then jump, pushing your arms straight down as you raise your knees to your chest. This movement will naturally crunch your abdominal muscles without putting pressure on your back. Continue for 20 jumps and then rest.
The ballet stretch
Swimming pool water provides buoyancy that allows movements that you couldn’t do easily on land. The water also allows you to use the artistic and creative side of your personality to work out muscles and joints. Stand near the edge of the pool with the water waist high. Make the pool edge your “ballet barre,” holding onto it with one hand as you extend your leg behind you and your opposite arm in front of you. Hold the stretch for five counts. Return to your starting position. Repeat the exercise four more times. Then, switch sides and do extensions on the other arm and leg. This exercise works the muscles of the shoulders, hips and back.
Another dance-related exercise you can do in the swimming pool is the arm swirl. Hold your arms out to your sides as you stand in water chest high. Move your arms back and forth through the water, feeling the resistance against the muscles of the shoulders, upper arms and back. Then, work the arms up and down through the water. You should feel a slight lifting out of the water as you “flap” both arms downward. Next, swirl your arms through the water simultaneously, to the left, to the right and combine this movement with the front-and-back movement of the previous exercise. Continue for 20 counts and then rest.
Another exercise in which the buoyancy of the water helps to overcome gravity is the flying leap. In this exercise, you’ll jump, spreading your legs from the hip to the front and the back. Leap through the water like a ballet dancer on stage and land on both feet simultaneously. Ensure that your pool has a slip free surface to avoid sudden dunkings.
Running in place
If you have knee or hip problems, the swimming pool allows you to exercise without the stress of the ground pounding on your joints. If you haven’t been able to run in years, you can use the pool to keep you buoyant to prevent damage to joints and feet. Stand in water waist high. Then, break into an “underwater run” ensuring that you can keep a good pace with good footing as you go through the motions of “running.” Start with a 50-count “run” and build up the count as you feel comfortable. After a time, you will begin to feel an increased heart rate and breathing, much like a running workout would give you on land.