Pool Exercises… Better Than a Gym & Much More Fun!

pool exercises

There are all types of gyms in Palm Beach County, especially in West Palm Beach. They offer all types of workout routines … personal trainers, yoga, Pilates, weight resistance – both free weights and universal machines, cardio, and so much more. But there’s one problem with going to a gym – you have to go there! Wouldn’t it be nice to workout in your own home?

Yet, working out in your own home brings with it problems of space and needed equipment. And, let’s face it, exercising isn’t all that much fun at home by yourself.

One great alternative is a home workout that uses your backyard pool. It is much more fun than any sweaty workout at a gym!

Pool exercises can be fun at any age. It can be a family affair, just you, or invite over a few friends. It’s not dependent on whether you are currently in shape or not.  Pool exercises are low impact. There is no pressure on the bones, joints or muscles; and water gives a natural resistance to strengthen muscles – no need to lift heavy weights. So you can increase muscle endurance and strength without worrying about injury.

Other pool benefits are:

  • A great cardiovascular workout for improved heart health, and
  • Stress reduction – something we all need in today’s environment.

Types of Pool Exercises

When you think of pool exercises, the first thing that comes to mind is water aerobics. It gives you all the benefits of an aerobic class with the added strength resistance.

If you like to swim and have a large backyard pool, swimming is a great exercise and requires no other equipment. It also is a great exercise to do alone and burns lots of calories, giving you all the benefits of water aerobics. You can change strokes for variety to keep from getting bored.

If you are not a strong swimmer, you can modify lap swimming. Swim one to two laps, and then walk one to two laps. Stay in the pool area that allows your head to remain above water. You will get the pool benefits of swimming and water aerobic exercise.

Playing games with your children is another good form of pool exercise. It may not give you as much benefit as water aerobics or swimming, but it is lots more fun. You can do swimming challenges or string a net across the pool and play volleyball. Check out our pool games page for more fun ideas: https://poolspalmbeaches.com/top-10-swimming-pool-games-kids.

Aerobic Pool Exercises

Water aerobics give the most health benefits, since you are targeting areas – just like at the gym. There are many that you can find on the Internet – with or without pool equipment involved. Here are a few using water weights (i.e. foam dumbbells and ankle weights made for water use). Do the entire workout three times a week.

Warm Up Exercise. You need to begin with a warm-up pool exercise. You also could just do normal warm-up stretching exercises on the pool deck.

Water walking is a great warm up. Seniors and beginners also can use it as an exercise. You will burn twice as many calories as walking on dry land:

  1. Stand in water up to your waist. For a senior pool exercise or for more resistance, walk in chest high water.
  2. Hold yourself straight, tummy and buttocks tucked in, as if you have a book on your head.
  3. Begin walking normally – never on your toes. If needed, hold something in each hand to weigh you to the bottom of the pool.
  4. Move your arms back and forth as you walk, keeping them comfortably straight. Move them opposite to your legs (i.e. right arm forward and right leg back).
  5. If using water walking as an exercise, move 10 steps forward and then walk 10 steps back to exercise different muscle groups.
  6. Additionally, you can move from a walk to a jog, keeping your feet on the bottom of the pool for a more intense and calorie-burning exercise.

Another warm-up method is to float or tread water with gentle kicking.

Aerobic Pool Exercises. Start out with five repetitions (reps) for each exercise (or for each side, where you do one side at a time). You can add more reps (up to 15 each) as you become accustomed to the pool exercises.

Even if you already are in good shape, start with less reps. Pool exercises will affect your muscles differently than regular gym workouts. You also can begin with no water weights; then add the water weights later.

For all exercises, unless instructed otherwise, keep your body straight and your tummy and buttocks held in and tight.

  1. Leg Lifts
    1. In shoulder-deep water, hold on to the pool edge facing the pool.
    2. Extend one leg straight out from your side as far as you are able, keeping the toes of both feet pointed to the front.
    3. Do not allow your hips, knees or ankles to turn.
    4. Pause a second and switch to the other leg. Repeat
  2. Leg Lifts #2
    1. Still in shoulder-deep water, place your back against the pool.
    2. Hold on to the pool edge with both arms out-stretched for balance, while standing on the bottom. You can also turn sideways to the pool wall and hold on with only one hand.
    3. Slowly lift one leg straight up in front of you until level with the water or as far as you are able, while still keeping the other foot flat on the pool bottom.
    4. Don’t point your foot. Keep it parallel to your body, as if you were standing on that leg.
    5. Slowly return your leg to a standing position and rest 30 seconds.
    6. Switch legs (if using side position to the pool wall, you will need to turn around each time you switch legs).
    7. Repeat the lift movement.
  3. Make Waves – this works your back, abs, buttocks and leg muscles.
    1. Still at the edge of the pool but in chest-deep water, place one hand on the pool edge.
    2. Place the other hand directly below the first with your palm against the wall, fingers pointing down.
    3. Using your arms, extend your legs out behind you at water level.
    4. Keep your knees and feet together.
    5. Now, kick like a big fish, using your abs and hips, still keeping your knees and feet together and legs comfortably straight. (You may need to use a normal flutter kick in the beginning.)
    6. Kick hard and fast for 30 seconds; then pause for 30 seconds.
    7. Switch arm positions and repeat.
  4. Arm Lifts
    1. Standing in shoulder-deep water, arms straight down at your sides with the back of your hands toward your front. Hold the water weights with your hands over the top and palms facing back.
    2. Slowly raise your arms together to shoulder level in front of you.
    3. Then, slowly drop them back to your sides.
    4. Pause for 30 seconds and repeat.
    5. You also can raise and lower one arm at a time.
  5. Arm Lifts #2
    1. Still in shoulder-deep water, hold the water weights at your sides with hand over the top and palms facing your legs.
    2. Slowly bring both arms up to water level. In this pool exercise, you must do both arms at the same time.
    3. Hold for one second and slowly drop back down.
    4. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat.
  6. Arm Curls
    1. Again in shoulder-deep water, this time hold the water weights at your side, turning the weights so your palms face the front.
    2. Keep your upper arms at your sides and slowly curl the weights upward, bending your arms at the elbows. This can be done with both arms together or separately.
    3. Pause one second and slowly return your arms to your side.
    4. Pause 30 seconds and repeat.
  7. Tricep Backward Extension – this is for that flabby area under your upper arm. You have to do one side at a time, holding only one water weight.
    1. In chest-deep water, separate your feet so that one leg is forward and one is back.
    2. Slightly bend forward, keeping your head above water.
    3. On the side with your leg forward, place that hand on you upper thigh for balance.
    4. With the other hand holding the water weight, place your arm straight down and palm toward your side.
    5. Slowly bring your arm backward until its straight back and hold for 30 seconds.
    6. Slowly return your arm back to its first position and pause 30 seconds.
    7. Now, switch sides – water weight is in other hand and feet/legs have switched positions. Repeat exercise.

The routines here are actually some of the free weights training exercises you will find in a gym. Many of those exercises can be used in pool exercises. You can find many on the Internet to add variety to your pool workout.

Don’t have a pool? Let’s discuss getting you one today!


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