Water workouts to tone up and lose weight

Workout and exercise in swimming poolWhen I think of swimming pools, I imagine myself floating on a raft soaking up the sun and drinking a cold beverage. However, the pool can be a great way to get in a fun and refreshing workout.

Not only can you burn calories and strengthen your muscles, you can keep cool during the hot summer months. You get in your cardiovascular exercise, toning and stretching without even feeling like you’ve broken a sweat!

Warm up with cardio:

If you’re a decent swimmer, you can swim laps for a few minutes to get your heart pumping. In a smaller, backyard pool, you can swim back and forth across the pool or swim circles around the outside of the pool.

Walking or running in the pool can be just as effective. You may be surprised by how quickly you get tired. Try to work up to 20 minutes at a time. Be sure you plant your feet and heels on the bottom of the pool – rather than on your tiptoes – or your calves will be hurting the next day.

Tone up with these moves:

Tread water
In the deep end of the pool, tread water by making smaller circles with your hands cupped and kicking your legs like you’re pedaling a bicycle. See how long you can continue to tread without feeling overly tired or struggling to stay above water. Treading gets harder the longer you do it!

For even more difficulty, as you tread lift your right leg straight out in front of you at the hip and as high up as you can. Keep your left leg stretched straight down toward the bottom of the pool. Hold it for 5 seconds and then switch to the other side for 5 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times on each side. Squeeze your butt and thighs as you do it to keep your legs straight and help tone your muscles.

Pike tread
If you only have shallow water, you can do a modified treading exercise. Sit back in the water while treading using your hands at your sides. Lift both legs up together and fold at the hips to create a wide V shape. Your toes should peek out above the water’s surface. Hold yourself in the V for 30 seconds. You can also paddle yourself around as you tread. If your toes are sinking, tighten your abs or widen your V a little bit.

Squats
Stand in shallow water with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms bent at your sides. Like a regular squat, slowly bend your knees into a squat position with your butt out behind you. Act like you are sitting in a chair and make sure your knees don’t extend out past your toes. Slowly push down with your hands, tighten your abs and stand back up straight. Repeat for 30 reps.

Kicks
Hold onto the side of the pool and extend your legs out behind you. Kick your legs in a scissor motion. Keep it up for 30 to 60 seconds, then rest and repeat. You can tone your glutes, abs and hamstrings all at once. You can even swim around with a noodle tucked under your armpits or on a wave board, and scissor kick your legs behind you.

You can also do a side kick. Hold onto the side of the pool and slowly lift one leg straight out to the side while keeping your back straight. Slowly bring it back down for 15 to 30 reps. Repeat on the other side.

Make waves
You can make waves while you kick. Facing the pool wall in chest deep water, hold onto the edge with your left hand and brace your right hand on the pool wall with your fingers facing down. This position will give you stability. Then, extend your legs behind you and keep your knees and feet together. Swim like a dolphin – in a wave motion from your hips to knees to feet – for 30 seconds. Rest for a few minutes and repeat.

Push ups and pull ups
To do push ups, stand facing the edge of the pool, leaning toward the edge with your arms out straight. Slowly, bend your arms and lean in to touch your nose on the edge. Then slowly push back out. Do 30 repetitions.

You can do pull ups by grabbing the edge of the pool with your back to the edge and lowering your body as far down as your arms will allow. Then, keeping your knees bent, slowly pull yourself up as high as you can and then lower yourself slowly back down. Repeat 30 times.

Crunches
To work your abs, you can do crunches in the pool. With your back to the wall, hold onto the edge of the pool. Keeping your legs straight, slowly bring both legs up at the hip to a sitting position and hold it for ten seconds. Put your legs slowly back down and repeat 30 times.

Play ball
Hit a beach ball back and forth with friends or family. You can also play a modified game of volleyball in the pool. Swimming, jumping and diving for the ball will definitely give you a workout.

Stretch to the finish:

You can do almost any stretch that you do on land in the water. Just move slowly and keep your feet flat on the floor. And, you can get dehydrated in the pool so be sure to drink plenty of water. You may not feel like you really did a hard workout, but you may be sore in the morning!

Do you have exercises you like to do in the pool? Or you do have fun games that can help tone you up without it feeling like a workout? Let us know!

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