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Pool Exercises: 5 Exercises to Do in the Pool

For those who have joint pain, are recovering from surgery, or are obese, water exercises can be a great option for a full-body workout. They can help relieve some of the stress and pressure on your hardworking joints. Keep reading to see if swimming pool exercises are right for you.

Moving your land-based workouts into the pool may be a great way to regain your flexibility and mobility if you’re recovering from an injury. The water helps support your body weight and takes pressure off your joints or injured limbs.

Those who are recovering from an injury aren’t the only ones who can benefit from the extra support that a pool gives. For people who are out of shape or obese, swimming pool workouts are a gentle yet enjoyable way to begin joyful movements and add extra activity to your day.

Another benefit of water exercise is the ability to add intensity with a low risk of injury. For example, there are special pool weights you can use around your ankles or pool exercise equipment to help you gradually build strength while taking impact off your spine, back, and limbs. Pool workouts are a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness without overexerting your heart and can help improve lung capacity.

A side benefit to getting your workouts in an outdoor pool is that you’ll get plenty of vitamin D. Vitamin D increases your body’s ability to absorb calcium, something that’s important to women of all ages. Getting the right amount of calcium throughout your lifetime improves bone strength and can reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.

For people who recently underwent gastric bypass or are obese, pool exercises for weight loss can be a great option for a full-body workout without stressing the joints.

While pool exercises may be gentle enough for pregnant women, follow your doctor’s advice first. As you progress through your pregnancy, your center of gravity will shift, so it’s important to use the edge of the pool for stability.

Aqua workouts aren’t just modifying your regular workout for the pool. Many fitness centers and community pools offer water aerobics routines in group classes at different difficulty levels. These may be an excellent option if you’re new to fitness and aren’t sure how to best move your body in the pool for maximum benefit. They’re also great for meeting new friends and accountability buddies. 

While the pool can be a great, relatively low-cost option for a full-body workout, there are a few times that you should avoid water workouts. If you’re sunburned, don’t go back outdoors until you heal. If you have an open wound, avoid pools so you don’t contract an infection or contaminate the pool. If you’re recovering from a C-section delivery, wait at least six weeks before performing these exercises. Make sure to ask your doctor when you’ll be ready to visit the pool.

People with certain chronic health conditions should also avoid pool workouts. If you have a history of seizures or epilepsy, it’s best to avoid aqua exercises. People with incontinence issues or an infectious disease may need to refrain from using the pool. Even with certain protective clothing, there’s no guarantee that illness or bacteria won’t spread, and not every swimming pool is treated with the proper chemicals to kill all the viruses and bacteria that people carry.

You may, however, perform aqua exercises if you’re on your period. Make sure that you wear a fresh tampon and that you’ve showered beforehand.

Here are five simple exercises to do in the pool. Do about 6–10 repetitions of each, in sets of 2–3 to start. 

Water walking can be an excellent beginner’s pool workout for those recovering from a knee injury or problems with their ankles. Walking in water provides more resistance than walking on land yet requires less strain and pressure on your legs. The faster you walk, the more resistance you’ll create and the more intense your exercise will be. If you want to add more intensity to your workouts, you can move to a shallower part of the pool and change your regular steps to lunges.

Using your body weight to squat is an excellent exercise on land and a great one for aqua workouts. Although in the pool the water will support some of the weight, you will build strength and flexibility by doing squats in the water. To perform the move, simply bend at the knees like you’re trying to sit down in a chair. Hold on to the edge of the pool deck with your hands, arms extended, if you need support. You’ll want to stick your butt out instead of keeping your hips straight up and down. Squat down just as far as you can and push yourself back up with your legs. Don’t use your hands or arms to pull up.

This is a fantastic exercise for the upper body. You’ll need a small kickboard, about 2 feet long. Stand close to the edge of the pool about chest deep, and extend your arms forward, holding the kickboard upright.

To perform the move, slowly pull the kickboard towards you, keeping your arms close to your sides. You’ll use your upper arms, the triceps area, as well as the muscles of your upper chest, above your breasts. As you pull back, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Imagine you’re trying to grip a pencil between the muscles.

Flutter kicks build strength in the glutes and increase the flexibility of your hip flexors while incorporating some core work, too. As you perform these pool exercises, think of engaging your abdominal muscles, pulling your belly button back to your spine, and holding in your obliques.

For the flutter kick, cross your arms on the edge of the pool, with your chin on your forearms. Allow your legs to float behind you extended fully with toes pointed. Then, make small, fast kicks, using your whole leg, under the water. You’ll get greater resistance if you keep your legs and feet from breaking the surface, and engaging your core muscles can help with that.

This is a similar move to the flutter kick, except you’re moving more slowly and with a greater range of motion. Stand in the same position as the flutter kick, arms crossed on the pool deck and feet flat on the bottom.

To begin, move one leg slowly back as far as you can, keeping the leg straight and toes pointed. Slowly lower your leg back down and repeat on the other side. Instead of the smaller kicking movements, you’re extending your entire leg behind you.

Water workouts don’t have to mean swimming laps. You can get a great full-body pool workout, strengthening both major and minor muscle groups. If you choose an outside pool, don’t forget sunscreen and a hat to shield your face. As with all exercise programs, consult with your doctor before beginning, and follow their recommendations.



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