Exercising in a swimming pool is a great way to get an all-round workout: the water provides support, resistance and buoyancy, enabling you to work harder without putting any extra strain on your joints. You’ll actually burn a higher level of calories in a shorter amount of time with an aqua aerobics workout than you might with traditional aerobics. We’ve focused on some specific exercise routines you can do if you want to target and tone up the muscles in particular areas of your body, such as your tummy, arms or legs. If you just want to get a good general workout, and perhaps lose some weight, cardio is the way to go!
Cardiovascular exercises are designed to improve the function of your heart and lungs, so you’re supposed to get out of breath doing them. In time, you’ll find it gets easier and you can exercise for longer or increase the number of repetitions you can do, showing that your stamina and fitness level is increasing. Alternate the cardio exercises with some of the toning exercises described in previous posts – that way you won’t get tired too quickly.
As the name suggests, jog on the spot in waist-high water for 1-3 minute intervals. If you do this at high intensity, you can burn more calories than jogging on land. It’s an easy and effective exercise for beginners to try. Once you’re happy doing this, or want more of a challenge, you can actually run through the water (across the width of the pool if it has a traditional deep and shallow end). Run in a zigzag pattern across the pool, then run back the other way in a straight line through the crossed currents you’ve created – this will really work on your core muscles and balance too.
Hold on to the side of the pool with your arms extended on your front. Kick your legs out behind you alternately for one minute, as fast as you can. Try to keep your legs underwater so it’s not too splashy but you get lots of movement – it’s harder than it sounds!
Stand in shoulder depth water, and alternate your arms and legs as if you’re cross-country skiing (right arm and left leg out, then swap). To get the best from this exercise, extend your arms and legs out as far as you can in front and behind your body.
One of the most effective and fun ways to get a fantastic cardio workout to lose weight and have fun in the pool is dancing. This is something you’d probably like to do in a group, so look out for aqua aerobics classes at the gym, or get together with friends and make up your own routines. Popular exercises such as Zumba and other dancing fitness classes can all be just as enjoyable and effective in the pool!