I love it when the weather starts getting a bit warmer as it creates lots more opportunities for my favourite outdoor activities and getting back to a higher degree of fitness while doing the things you enjoy doing.
If you have any health issues, such as arthritis, which make traditional exercise more hazardous or difficult, then consider using your community’s public pool as your “gym” for doing aqua fitness exercises which are easy on tender joints but provide the water’s natural resistance to build strong lean muscles.
Regardless of your current level of fitness a swimming pool offers a wide range of excellent fitness activities from therapeutic all the way up to Olympic standard so there really is something for everyone.
So here are 5 low impact Aqua Aerobics Exercises to get you started:
1) Underwater Jogging – good for warming-up and a cardio workout.
Traditional jogging provides a good cardiovascular workout and muscle toning but can also create excessive strain on knee, hip and ankle joints. An “underwater” workout allows you to get the same effect on muscles while the buoyancy of being in the water helps to keep weight and impact off your joints. The water’s resistance also helps to build up muscles.
Stand waist-deep in the water and start a slow jogging movement. Try to build a normal jogging rhythm as you would on land. After a few minutes, you will notice an increase in heart rate and respiration, much like jogging on land. Continue until you begin to feel fatigued. Build up your “jogging” time gradually to avoid muscle strain.
2) Pool Steps Supported Leg Kicks – good for core and abs.
You can use this exercise earlier in the morning or at other times when the pool is not very busy. Climb down the steps to the floor of the pool. Turn and lean your palms on one of the steps below the water line that allows you to keep your elbows straight. Extend your legs straight out behind you while resting your extended arms on the step. Move your legs in a backward kick, first the left leg, then the right leg.
Continue kicking alternately to the count of twenty. Rest for ten counts and do twenty more kicks. Build up your count gradually until you reach one hundred kicks. You can also turn your body facing upward (as if you were doing backstroke) and kick your legs alternately while holding the step with your arms held toward the back. Count kicks as before.
3) Pool Steps Supported Push-Ups – good chest/upper body workout.
You can also use the pool steps as your raised support for doing pushups that allow the water to keep your lower body buoyant while you work the upper part of the your body. Choose a step height that allows you to bend your elbows but still keeps your face above the water. Extend your arms with your palms on the step. Slowly lower your upper body, bending your elbows.
Then, lift your upper body by unbending your arms to full extension. Repeat ten to twenty times. Rest for ten count, then repeat again. Build the count gradually to reach one hundred. If you have trouble with your legs sinking, place your ankles over a pool noodle for buoyancy. To make this exercise harder try doing one armed push-ups.
4) Sustained Water Treading – great cardio and calorie burner.
If you know how to tread water in one spot, you have a natural exercise for building leg and arm muscles and improving cardiovascular function. Have a friend time you for one full minute of treading in place. Do not touch the sides or bottom of the pool at any time during the exercise. After you have reached one minute, rest for one to two minutes depending on your condition. Then, repeat the exercise. Build up your treading time to two minutes, then three minutes.
5) Jumping Leg Spread – same leg movements as a jumping jack done in the gym.
The water’s natural ability to keep you buoyant allows you to do exercises you couldn’t do on land. An underwater “jump” in which you spread your legs wide to each side will aid in keeping legs and hips flexible and muscles strong. You can experiment with this underwater technique to see if it will allow you to do other leaps and stretches that gravity wouldn’t allow you to do on land.
I find that even if you are already going to the gym regularly, then doing some aqua aerobics routines for 30 to 40 minutes twice a week helps keep you more interested and motivated to keep going with your fitness program especially if you can do it with a few friends. The other bonus is you will get fewer injuries from working-out in the water.
“Working out in water is very safe because no joints or bones are forced to bear too heavy a load,” says Andrew Jones, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The five swimming pool exercises I have shown you above are just a starting point to help get you motivated to try something new by adding more variety to your current fitness program.
Here are some more great fun routines you can add to your new found aquatic fitness program.
Let me know how they work for you and which ones you like the best.
1) A Workout with a Warm-up to get you going – in fact, make sure you do a warm-up each time before you start a session:
2) Some great Abs and Core moves:
3) An Aerobics and Abs Workout that will burn heaps of fat:
4) Abs exercises for toning and core strength:
5) A Full Body Calorie Burner: