Water Workout – Exercise in the Pool

With all this talk about the health and wellness benefits of owning a hot tub, I feel like we are forgetting one of the best forms of exercise on the planet – swimming and aquatics! I saw an old friend the other day, and her legs looked awesome!  She said she has been diligent about exercising in the pool every night while the kids play. Jumping in the pool is good for the whole family, and exercising with your children is a good way to model life-long healthy habits.  Working out in the pool is really like ‘resistance training’. Swimming also helps our joint mobility and overall feeling of well-being, mood and sleep quality.

Here are a few exercises you can do with the entire family:
Noodle Straddle – This is fun because of the name alone, and it’s funny when someone falls off their noodle. You can get all different sizes and colors of noodles. (Some even have built in cup holders or liquid containers inside them, so you don’t have to get out of the pool for a drink – not bad to float with on a Saturday afternoon, either).  The movement helps your legs, bum and balance.  Straddle the noodle the deep end of the pool.  Get balanced and start moving legs in different controlled directions.  Move legs in a circular motion like you’re riding a bike, scissor motions – both front-to-back and criss-cross, clockwise and counter-clockwise.    

Water Weights – Invest in some for arms and legs. Walk in circles around the rim of pool playing ‘follow the leader’.  The weights give you a great muscle workout, like, well, lifting weights or resistance training.  There are weights that strap to your legs: ankle, lower leg, above knee. (Try marching with them above the knee.)
Hand-held dumbells are great for arms and shoulders. You can also now get big ‘webbed gloves’ for your hands that provide more resistance for arms.

Kid-Friendly Pool Exercises for the Shallow End.
Tick-tock hop – Quickly jump from side to side, keeping feet together.
Knee twist – Cross right elbow toward left knee at waist. Alternate sides.
Squat jump – Squat down with arms extended at shoulder height; jump as high as possible while raising arms overhead. Compete to see who can jump the highest!

 For a more ‘adult-style workout’, I found this complete leg workout routine in Fitness Magazine developed by Ivy Larson, a fitness instructor I Jupiter, Florida.