It’s humid and hot, but it’s also sunny. You might not want to run outside because of the heat and humidity, but you also want to enjoy the sun. So, hit the pool!
“Aquacise” (water exercise) can be therapeutic while offering a great way to build muscular strength and endurance. For many individuals with joint pain and discomfort, the buoyancy and pressure of water can relieve pain in the joints. Working out in water also significantly decreases the risk of injuries. So what can you do in the pool to improve your physical fitness level?
- Walking: Yeah, walking in water may sound like an easy task… But! with the little bit of resistance, you may begin to notice fatigue quicker than you thought. To increase the intensity, you can turn the walk into a jog or even a light run. Submerging yourself deeper into the water is another excellent way to increase the difficulty of this exercise. This is a great beginner workout with an easy progression! Walking in water can help improve cardiovascular endurance while toning and strengthening the legs without the constant stress on the ankles, knees, hips, and back with running on concrete.
- Arm circles: Arms circles are performed by submerging neck deep into the pool. Make sure your arms are straightened out to your side. Start by making small circles with each arm in the same direction. After completing your first set, start in the opposite direction. Arms circles can increase rotator cuff stability, strength and endurance without loading a dysfunctional shoulder complex with weight and causing more pain and discomfort.
- Flutter kicks: With the assistance of a kick-board, extend your legs straight back, in-line with the rest of your body. Start alternating kicks with each leg. Your intensity can be increased by speeding up. If you do not have a kick-board, the ledge of the pool is a good substitute. A variation of the exercise can be done with a pool noodle around your back and under the arms while floating on your back.
- Aquatic dumbbells: Aquatic dumbbells are great equipments to use for a full range of water exercises. The viscosity of water allows bicep curls and tricep extensions in one exercise. Following a bicep curl, returning to the start position becomes a tricep extension. The same concept can be applied to a chest fly and reverse fly to work both the chest and back in one workout. If you don’t have a set of Aquatic dumbbells you can purchase them for a reasonable price at Walmart.
- Swimming: Although this is an obvious exercise, we often forget its benefits. With the correct form, swimming can become the most effective and efficient water exercise. Variations of swimming techniques can target essentially all muscle groups from head to toe to improve muscular strength. Swimming laps also can help improve lung function, cardiovascular health and muscle endurance.
As always, remember to stay hydrated! Becoming dehydrated in a pool can be dangerous! Although you may feel cool being in the water, you are still working hard and sweating throughout your workout. Most of all, have fun and enjoy being active!