Whether it is a swimming pool, lake, or the ocean, exercises can be performed in the water and can be good for people of all ages. The properties of the water can help reduce pressure and stress on the body and joints and it can also act as a form of resistance to help strengthen muscles without heavy weights.
Here are some exercises to try, but keep these safety tips in mind: exercising in water can sometimes feel easier than on land so be aware of your limits, exercise with a partner and consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Remember to wear sunscreen and have fun!
1. Water Walking/Running
Start in waist deep water and walk forward, sideways and backwards (make a square). Be careful in lakes and oceans for moving current and rocks or other things on the ground that may hurt your feet. Walk faster or run to make it more challenging and get your heart pumping! You can also try walking lunges, or high knee marching for alternate movements.
2. Leg Lifts
In a swimming pool, hold onto the wall and lift your leg out straight to the side, out straight to the back and out straight to the front. Repeat on one leg until it gets tired, then try the other leg. Not only do these exercises work the legs, it also improves balance and strengthens your core.
3. Squat and Jump
In a swimming pool, move to waist deep water. Bend your knees and then forcefully jump out of the water as high as you can! Try it with both legs, then with each leg individually.
4. Tread Water
Keeping yourself afloat in the water with your head out of the water is good exercise for your muscles, including your heart! Try using different kicks: bicycle kick or an “egg beater” kick (alternating legs). You can also try keeping your hands out of the water to challenge your legs more!
While holding onto a kickboard, keep your legs straight and perform a free style kick or flutter kick. Try performing intervals of fast, small range kicking and then slower, bigger range kicking. This will not only work your leg muscles, but can also get your heart rate up too for a cardiovascular work-out!
6. Play Ball
Playing catch in the water can be a fun game, but can also be good exercise. Jumping, lunging and quick movements in different directions to retrieve the ball make your muscles work while you hare having fun!
*Some equipment ideas that can be used in the water: flippers, paddles/webs, barbells, kickboard, swim float/water floatation belt, water noodle, water weights