Make a Splash and Get Fit: Pool Exercises for All
Does the thought of running on a treadmill give you hives? Are you a lucky pool owner? Try swimming exercises instead. Working out in water is just as effective as workouts on land — and it could even yield greater benefits. Today, we dive into reasons why water exercises are so powerful, and we give you moves to add to your fitness routine.
Preliminary remark: It is always better to be two or more when swimming or exercising in general.
Benefits of pool workouts
Aquatic exercises offer a wide range of benefits for people of all fitness levels and ages. Here are some of the top benefits of pool workouts:
1. Low-impact exercise
Water exercises are rather low-impact, which means that they are gentle on the joints and muscles. This makes them ideal for people with injuries, arthritis, or other conditions that make high-impact exercise difficult.
2. Increased resistance
Water provides natural resistance, which makes pool workouts more challenging than traditional workouts on land. This resistance can help build strength, improve cardiovascular endurance, and tone muscles.
3. Improved flexibility
Water offers a buoyant environment that can help improve flexibility and range of motion. The buoyancy is especially helpful for people with joint or mobility issues.
4. Reduced risk of injury
Because pool workouts are low-impact and provide natural resistance, they offer a reduced risk of injury compared to high-impact workouts. So, swimming is ideal for people who are recovering from injuries or who want to avoid injury.
5. Longer lifespan
Studies show that working out regularly, including swimming, could increase your lifespan. A 2017 Swim England report found that people who incorporated swimming into their weekly fitness had a significantly lower death rate than those who did not swim.
6. Sculpts a lean body
Aquatic exercises engage everything from your arms, shoulders, and core, to your back and glutes. And when you work more than one muscle group at a time, you burn more calories and fat. And according to a 2021 study, 16 weeks of swimming can result in a reduction in body fat.
7. Cool and refreshing
Working out in hot weather can pose the risk of heat-related illness, but pool exercises allow you to get a good workout even when it's hot out. The water can help regulate body temperature and provide a refreshing break from the heat.
NB: UV rays - especially those between 11 am and 4 pm during summertime - can be harmful to your skin. ⚠️
Low-impact pool exercises
If you're recovering from an injury and want to stay active, low-impact pool workouts are perfect. They're also great for fitness newbies or seniors who don't want to put too much stress on their joints and muscles. Below are a few low-impact pool exercises to try:
- Water walking: Walk back and forth across the shallow end of the pool, lifting your knees up high with each step.
- Pool noodle bicycle: Sit on a pool noodle and pedal your legs as if you are riding a bicycle. This exercise works your legs, abs, and core.
- Flutter kicks: Hold onto the edge of the pool and kick your legs rapidly back and forth in the water.
- Pool plank: Hold onto the edge of the pool and extend your legs out behind you, holding your body in a plank position.
- Water jogging: Run in place in the shallow end of the pool, lifting your knees up high with each step.
- Leg lifts: Hold onto the edge of the pool and lift one leg at a time straight out in front of you, holding for a few seconds before switching to the other leg.
- Arm circles: Stand in the shallow end of the pool and make small circles with your arms, gradually increasing the size of the circles.
- Pool push-ups: Place your hands on the edge of the pool and lower your body down towards the water, then push back up.
- Water lunges: Stand in waist-deep water and take a large step forward, bending your knee and lowering your body down towards the water. Push back up and repeat on the other leg.
- Pool squats: Stand in waist-deep water and lower your body down into a squat, holding onto the edge of the pool for balance.
Medium-impact pool exercises
Have some experience with aquatic fitness? Add some variety with medium-impact moves. These exercises are great for people of all ages who want to keep their body moving.
- Aqua jogging with high knees: Jog in place in the shallow end of the pool, lifting your knees up as high as you can with each step.
- Pool flutter kicks with flutter board: Hold onto a flutter board and kick your legs rapidly back and forth in the water.
- Pool jumping jacks: Perform jumping jacks, with arms and legs spreading outwards and then coming back together. You should feel light resistance.
- Water treading with arm circles: Tread water in the deep end of the pool while making small circles with your arms, gradually increasing the size of the circles.
- Deep water running with pool noodle: Hold a pool noodle under your arms and "run" in the deep end of the pool, lifting your knees up high with each step.
- Water leg curls with water weights: Hold water weights in your hands and stand with your back to the pool wall, curling one leg up behind you and then switching to the other leg.
- Aqua push-ups with pool wall: Place your hands on the pool wall and lower your body down towards the water, then push back up. This exercise works your chest, arms, and core.
- Pool kickboard sprints: Hold onto a kickboard and "sprint" from one end of the pool to the other, kicking your legs rapidly behind you.
- Water lunge jumps: Stand in waist-deep water and perform alternating lunges, jumping up into the air between each lunge.
- Pool mountain climbers with pool wall: Place your hands on the pool wall in a plank position and bring your knees up towards your chest, alternating between each leg.
High-impact pool exercises
Take your workouts to the next level with high-intensity pool exercises. These moves are ideal for fitness enthusiasts and athletes who want a vigorous workout.
- Aqua jump squats: Perform deep squats, jumping up into the air as you come up from each squat. Add a level of intensity with ankle weights.
- Pool burpees: Lower yourself into a squat position, keeping your weight in your heels and your knees over your toes. Place your hands on the pool deck or pool edge in front of you. Jump both feet back behind you, landing in a plank position with your arms straight.
- Water jumping lunges: Stand in waist-deep water and perform jumping lunges, alternating legs with each jump.
- Pool sprints: Swim as fast as you can from one end of the pool to the other, focusing on speed and power.
- Deep water running with hand paddles: Wear hand paddles and "run" in the deep end of the pool, lifting your knees up high with each step. This exercise works your legs, arms, and cardiovascular system.
- Aqua high knees with pool noodle: Hold a pool noodle under your arms and perform high knees, lifting your knees up as high as you can with each step.
- Water plyometric jumps: Jump up and down as fast as you can in waist-deep water, focusing on power and explosiveness.
- Pool side-to-side hops: Jump side to side as fast as you can, using the pool wall for support and balance.
- Water jump rope: Use an imaginary jump rope and jump up and down in waist-deep water, focusing on speed and coordination.
- Aqua power jumps with medicine ball: Hold a medicine ball and perform power jumps in waist-deep water, focusing on explosive movements and speed.
Pool yoga exercises
Swimming is known as a relaxing activity, and you can amplify the relaxation with yoga poses. Check out these pool yoga moves that help tone muscles, increase flexibility, and clear your mind:
- Pool downward dog: Stretch your arms and legs out, lowering your head and shoulders down towards the water.
- Aqua warrior pose: Step one leg back, bending your front knee and extending your arms out to the side. Repeat on the other side.
- Water chair pose: Squat down, holding your arms out in front of you as if you're sitting in a chair.
- Pool tree pose: Place one foot on the opposite thigh, pressing your hands together in front of your chest. Repeat on the other side.
- Aqua crescent lunge: Step one leg back, bending your front knee and extending your arms overhead. Repeat on the other side.
- Water plank pose: Hold a plank position in waist-deep water, with your forearms resting on a pool noodle.
- Pool bridge pose: Float on your back in the water and lift your hips up, extending your arms and legs out to the sides.
Dive into healthier living
Aquatic exercises are suitable for all ages and fitness levels. From low-impact workouts that are gentle on the joints to high-intensity exercises that challenge your strength and endurance, you have so many moves to choose from.
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