Water exercises can provide you with cardiovascular benefits as well as strength-resistance training that is gentle on your joints. Due to the water's buoyancy, aerobic exercises, stretches and other movements are more fluid and less strained in the water, so you can get the benefits of a strenuous workout without stressing or injuring your body. Here are some great exercises that you can add to your pool workout:
Exercise with Pool Buoys
Stand in chest-high water with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold one dumbbell between your legs with both hands. Bring your knees as far up as you can by jumping in the water. Hang onto to the dumbbell while jumping to work out your abdominal muscles. Do repetitions of 10 in sets of two or three and then rest.
Stand in shoulder-deep water with your legs shoulder-width apart and firmly planted on the pool floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, resting them against your outer thighs. Raise each dumbbell to shoulder height and then push the dumbbells down toward your outer thighs. Repeat 10 times. Do as many sets as you are comfortable doing.
Stand in water deep enough to cover your shoulders. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms out in front of you so they are in line with your chest. Then pull your arms back toward your chest by bending at your elbows. Repeat this biceps exercise 10 times before resting. Do as many sets as you can.
Stand in waist-high water. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your hands parallel to your shoulders. Raise each arm straight up and above your shoulder. Then bring your hands back down to shoulder height and repeat. For a cardiovascular workout, jog in place while you raise and drop your weighted arms.
Stand in shoulder-deep water and hold onto the edge of the pool lightly for balance. Extend your right leg straight out to the side as far up as you can bring it. Only go as far as you can while keeping toes pointing toward the pool wall (don't let your ankle turn) and keeping your hips straight toward the wall. Complete 8-10 times. Repeat on left leg.
Water Roman Chair
In deep water, float either on a tube or two kickboards (resting under your arms). Place your feet together and bend your knees up to at least waist-level, pause briefly and return. Repeat 8-10 times.
Stand in shoulder-deep water with arms hanging straight down against your sides. Slowly extend both arms straight out to the sides all the way up to the water-level. Pause briefly and repeat.
Swim/Walk interval laps
Swim 1-2 laps (use any swim form you prefer: crawl, backstroke, etc). Walk 1-2 laps in the pool. Repeat sequence 4-6 times.
Stand in the water with feet about hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly as you push your hips back as if you are sitting on a chair. Keep your knees behind your toes. Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. Squeeze your glutes as you rise up. Return to start position and repeat. The water provides extra resistance and makes this move more challenging.
(for those with access to the ocean or a wave-simulator): Stand in knee-deep or less water. Each time a wave comes attempt to jump over it. Note: this is a more advanced move that requires good balance and strong swimming skills. Do not attempt this move unless you have experience swimming in waves.
Can be done with the use of flotation devices where your feet don’t touch the ground or the traditional way of actually jogging in the water. If using a flotation device, run in place with your feet never touching the ground. If on the ground, try running 1-2 laps and then resting for 60 seconds. It's more challenging in deep water and less in shallow water.
Brisk water walking can provide an excellent aerobic workout and because water provides more resistance than air, you are strengthening and building muscle as you water walk.
Stand in waist-deep water with your abdominal muscles firm, tailbone pointed toward the floor, buttocks tucked somewhat to brace your spine in position, shoulders back, and chest lifted (neutral position). Walking in chest-deep water provides more resistance and a more strenuous workout.
Walk as you would on land, placing your heel down first and following through with the ball of your foot. Don't walk on your tiptoes. Keep your back straight and stomach muscles taut.
Walk forward eight steps, then back four steps to tone different muscle groups.
Push relatively straight arms forward and back at your sides as you walk. Turn your hands each time so that the palms press against the water.
Use your arms in opposition to your legs: When you step forward with your right leg, bring your left arm forward, and vice versa.