Health: Water workouts

Laura Knapp

Head to the pool for a fun form of exercise

Working out in the pool is a fun and cool way to get in shape during those blistering summer months. Water’s density creates resistance as we move in the pool, which makes it possible to burn calories and tone muscles.

Water workouts also offer low-impact exercise that is good for all ages, from children to senior citizens. Just make sure to warm up beforehand and drink plenty of water.

Deep water

Deep-water exercises offer the benefits of land-based workouts but without the impact. Walking, jogging and jumping jacks in deep water build strength and tone muscles. You will need a flotation belt to do many of these types of exercises.

Sit-ups:

1. Start in a vertical position.

2. Move arms as if treading.

3. Lift knees toward chest.

4. Straighten legs.

5. Twist torso, lift knees to right side.

6. Straighten legs.

7. Twist torso, lift knees to left side.

8. Return to starting position.

Scissors:

1. Start in vertical position, legs together.

2. Tread water with arms.

3. Exhale, slowly move right leg forward and left leg backward as far as possible without discomfort.

4. Inhale while returning to starting position.

5. Exhale, move left leg forward and right leg backward.

6. Inhale while returning to starting position.

Shallow water

You can bring many land-based exercises into the shallow end of a pool for an aquatic workout. Bouncing, jogging and walking are some basic moves that are good for hamstrings, quads and calf muscles.

Jumping jacks can be done in chest-deep water to tone thigh muscles. Make sure to open your arms to your sides, keeping them underwater, instead of bringing them overhead as you would on land.

Water yoga combines the benefits of land-based yoga with the benefits of water exercise. Water yoga uses postures such as the child’s pose, sun salutation and warrior.

Below are the steps to the warrior. When done in water, this posture stretches your entire body and strengthens arms and legs.

The warrior

1. Stand in waist-deep water with feet 3 feet apart.

2. Turn right foot outward while keeping body facing forward.

3. Bend right leg.

4. Extend arms at sides to shoulder level, palms upward.

5. Hold position for five seconds.

6. Repeat with left leg.

Kid-friendly exercises

Turn childhood pool games into fun workouts that will tone muscles and increase cardiovascular health.

Get your kids moving with Simon Says in the shallow end. Make sure Simon calls out exercises like jumping jacks, hopping and jogging in place.

Another great game is Red Light, Green Light. One person stands at one side of the shallow end and calls “Green light!” The other players run or swim from the other side until the caller says, “Red light!” They must stop until “green light” is called again. The first player to reach the caller wins.

Sources: “Aqua Fitness: The Low Impact Total Body Fitness Workout” by Mimi Rodriguez Adami; “Aqua Fit: Water Workouts for Total Fitness” by Dr. Jane Katz; www.webmd.com; www.wateraerobicexercise.net