Take the Plunge!: Water Workout

ASKfitness1The benefits of exercising in the water are truly amazing! A water workout will not leave you feeling sore and stiff. Instead, it helps to relieve pain and stiffness. Water exercise helps maintain joint flexibility, strengthen and tone muscles, and increases stamina and endurance. For the purpose of this water workout, swimming skills are not necessary. The water exercises that I suggest will only require you to be in water that is waist to chest high. The resistance of water coupled with its buoyant nature provides an ideal workout. Water and pool exercises combine every element of fitness, cardio respiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility. And a lot of fun!

You DO NOT have to be a swimmer to get a great workout in the pool. You do not need to know how to swim. Even if you don’t like the water, you are bound to love this workout!

So get your water shoes on, and jump in!

What you will need:

Water shoes, water bells and web gloves (optional…you can purchase these at any sporting goods store.)

A few important tips for optimal benefits:

  • The faster you move in the water….the greater the drag/resistance on your muscles.
  • Keep your hands and arms submerged as much as possible…this will provide the most resistance!
  • Just about any dumbbell exercise you do in the gym can be translated into the water…..be creative! Just like weight training, your muscles are contracting against resistance. Be sure you feet are fully planted on the floor and mind your posture. Keep your abdominal muscles tight, this will support your back while performing exercises with or without your water bells or webbed gloves.
  • It takes time to get used to the gravitational difference in the water but as you continue to practice your body will become more in tune with the water.
  • Stand in water that is somewhere between your belly button and mid chest. If the water is to deep you will be to buoyant. Likewise, if the water is to shallow you will not have enough resistance to achieve the greatest benefits from the water. It may take a little while to determine your best positioning in the water. But, you will catch on soon!
  • Stay well hydrated in the water. You sweat more than you can imagine!

The Warmup

Start walking the length of the pool. Move your arms through the water as you walk. Reach, grab and push the water behind you as you move forward.

Now that you are warmed up, try this!

Experiment with your speed and leg stride. Try intervals of fast-forward moving walking lunges and use your arms. One minute fast then two minutes slower. Do not be surprised if you feel breathless….build up slowly! Alternate with slower and shorter strides. Try walking and lunging backwards and sideways. Talk about tough? You could do this for 30 minutes for a very intense water workout! Always use your arms and hands to push, pull, punch, and move the water. Try a few kickboxing moves in the water! Try 50 jumping jacks…alternate with your arms above the water and under the water. Using your gloves or waterbells will intensify the workout and its fun!

Keep changing up the routine and drink plenty of water!

Cool down by walking or step tapping slowly for a few minutes.
Try a few of your favorite yoga stretches poolside.

Check back next week for your next water workout! In the meantime, practice…practice…practice!  You get stronger just by trying!

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