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July 2009
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Get Hooked on Water Exercise
Beating the heat while getting in shape.

Tired of the same old fitness routine? Are you lacking the motivation to run laps at the track in the heat and humidity? Thereís one place to go this summer to get in shape and stay cool at the same time Ė the swimming pool!


Exercising in a pool is an excellent way to get a cardiovascular workout to help you stay in shape. Itís not all swimming laps either. You can use the water as natural resistance, which has no impact on your joints, to help you get stronger and more toned. Just make sure you consult your physician before you start any fitness program. 


Warm up. Start by swimming a few laps in the pool for some cardio. Another alternative to swimming is running or walking. If the pool is deep enough, go in up to your shoulders and run, and youíll see that itís not as easy as it seems! Make sure when youíre running or walking to keep your feet planted.


Squats. Stand with your feet hip-width apart with your hands on your hips in shallow water. Slowly bend your knees into a squat position, simulating a sitting-in-a-chair position (make sure your knees arenít extending past your toes). This exercise works the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. 


Side lifts. Face the edge of the pool and while holding on with both hands, slowly bring one leg out to the side. Lift your leg as high as you can without turning at the ankle. Bring the leg back to the starting position and repeat for each leg. This works the hips and glutes.


Pull-ups. Hold onto the side of the pool and lower your body as far as your arms will let you. Bend your knees and pull yourself up as high as you can. Another great exercise that works the same groups involves standing in water up to your neck and keeping your arms out to each side, straight and with your palms forward. Bring your hands together slowly, as if you are clapping, and bring them back to the starting position. This works the back, arms and shoulders.


Crunch it. Stand with your back against the side of the pool, resting your elbows on the rim. With your knees unbent, slowly bring up both legs to a sitting position and hold (aim for at least 10 seconds). Bend at the knee to return to the starting position, repeating as many times as you like. Make sure your back remains straight during this exercise! This works the abs.


Kick it! Grab a kickboard or the edge of the pool and kick your legs. The scissoring motion works the hamstrings, as well as your abs.


Cool down with stretches. Just like on land, stretching is an excellent way to conclude your workout. For your hip flexors and quadriceps, stand at the side of the pool, holding with one hand and standing on one foot. Bend the other knee and grasp your ankle with your free hand. Switch sides and repeat. Another great stretch: Hold the side of the pool with one hand and turn your body away from the wall to stretch the pectorals and biceps. 


Donít think that because youíre in the water that you wonít get dehydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout to stay hydrated!


Get in shape and stay cool!


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