Think water for your workouts

June 20, 2016 | by Alice Novotny
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

You’re on vacation. Overheated. You have to entertain the kids, but didn’t get your workout in yet! No problem. If you have a pool or another body of water available, you can cool off, have fun and get a great workout.

Did you know that walking and running in water are great workouts for the entire body? Moving in water demands your core muscles to stabilize your body in order to stand up and by moving forward, backward and sideways you can challenge and use your core muscles even more.

Water is 12 times thicker than air, so every move you make in the water requires more strength and energy. Water is also a natural resistant; the harder you push against it, the more resistance it will provide. You determine how hard you want to work.

Try these exercises the next time you hit the pool:

  • Vary the tempo. Do some slow and controlled moves with a lot of power (for a strength workout) and some faster moves (for an aerobic challenge).

  • To get a full body workout, change your leg movement.
    • Try lifting your legs with just a slight bend in the knee (almost straight leg),
    • Lift your legs with a high knee
    • Lift legs raising a heel up behind you (hamstring curl).
    • Change it up and you can work all the muscles in your legs. Also vary the directions of the leg movement from directly in front of the hip to a leg or knee to the corner. 
    • If you don’t have an artificial hip, cross the right leg to the left side of the body and the left leg to the right side. 

  • For more power, add different arm movements. 
    • Reach in front of you and pull the water back.
    • Put your arms slightly behind your hips and push forward.
    • Extend your arms out to your sides and, with arms straight, pull the water down until your arms meet in front of your body.
    • Then try bringing them together behind your body. Every movement you make in any direction will engage muscles.

  • If you have the kids with you, make a game of it!
    • Race each other with different movements.
    • Play tag where everybody has to do jumping jacks to move
    • Try relay races where each member has to move in a different method.
    • If you have a beach ball, play water volleyball
    • If you have noodles, have one person pull the other across the pool.
    • Make up games or activities that keep everyone moving, it will build strength, increase your cardiovascular endurance, burn calories and leave you feeling refreshed and exhilarated.

Water is the place to be, especially in the summertime. Dive in, get a great workout and enjoy doing it!

Sign up for an aquatic fitness class at Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness!

Challenge yourself to be healthier this fall! Join the Healthy Driven Take a Hike! Challenge.

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