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Splash Your Way to Fitness

Splash Your Way to Fitness

Summer's hot days can deter even the most dedicated exercise enthusiast. Fortunately, there's a workout solution that will simultaneously maximize fitness while keeping you cool: aquatic exercises.

ATRIO Health Plans is singing the praises of pool exercises because they deliver a bounty of benefits, including:

  • Water's buoyancy supports a portion of your body, making movement easier, which improves flexibility.
  • Exercises done in H20 meet with resistance, which strengthens muscles.
  • Aquatic exercises enhance agility, balance, and cardiovascular health.
  • Pool exercises are low impact and thus alleviate pressure on bones, joints, and muscles.
  • Water workouts build endurance, burn calories, and can lower blood pressure.

Take the Plunge

Here's a sampling of assorted aquatic exercises. Before diving in, it's recommended that you first slide on a pair of water shoes, which will provide traction on the pool's floor. Also, some of these exercises call for one or two Styrofoam "pool noodles," and one suggests the addition of webbed gloves.

  • Walking or jogging—Standing in waist- or chest-high water, walk forward 10 to 20 steps, then walk backward an equal number of steps. To increase the difficulty, quicken your pace or jog in place for 30 seconds, followed by walking in place for 30 seconds. Continue this pattern for five minutes.
  • Lunges: After placing yourself near a pool wall, take an oversized lunge forward with your right leg, but don't allow your knee to extend past your right foot's toes. Repeat with your left leg. Follow forward lunges with side lunges. Facing the pool wall, and with toes turned forward, take an oversized lunge with your right leg. Do the same with your left leg. Do three sets of 10 forward lunges, and three sets of 10 side lunges.
  • Leg balance: Stand on your left leg, then raise your right knee to hip level. Using a pool noodle, put your right foot in the noodle's center, and pull both ends upward to form a “U.” If possible, hold this position for 30 seconds; switch to your right leg. Complete one to two sets of five noodle-knee raises on each leg.
  • Side steps--Facing the pool wall, take 10 to 20 steps to the right, followed by the same number of steps that will return you to your starting point. Now take 10 to 20 steps to the left, and then side step to your beginning position. Repeat twice in each direction.
  • Three-direction kicks—With the right side of your body leaning against the pool wall for support, lift your left leg forward with the knee straight, and then lower your leg to your starting position. Now move your left leg to the side and then lower it to the floor. Last, kick your left leg behind you and then lower it to the floor. After completing three sets of 10, lean the left side of your body against the pool wall and do the same kicks with your right leg.
  • Bicycle: Move to deeper water and place one or two pool noodles behind your back; pull each end of the noodle(s) forward, as a means of supporting your arms. Now peddle your legs as if you're riding a bike. Peddle for three to five minutes.
  • Web-glove raises—Wearing webbed gloves for additional resistance, place arms at your sides. After bending both elbows to 90 degrees, raise and lower arms toward the water's surface, while maintaining the 90-degree-elbow bend. Complete three sets of 10.
  • Knee lift—Standing against the pool wall with both feet on the floor, lift your right knee to hip level, and then straighten your right leg. After repeating this motion 10 times, do the same using your left leg. Complete three sets of 10 on each leg.

If you have access to an indoor pool, water workouts can be enjoyed year-round.