5 Calorie-Burning Workouts to Do in the Pool

Article posted in: Fitness
pool workout

You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer—or even know how to swim—to get a great pool workout. Swimming is one of the five best exercises you can ever do, says Harvard Health. The buoyancy of water takes pressure off joints, alleviating the pounding and jarring that occurs during other exercise. Water offers continual resistance—12 to 14 percent more resistance than when you exercise on land, making you work harder but without sudden body movements, says Bucknell University. Water also disperses heat more efficiently so you’re less likely to overheat or sweat at all.

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So why not spend what’s left of summer in the pool?

Get in a pool workout by doing one or a combo of these five (simple) calorie-burners:

1. Lap It Up.

swimming laps

Lap swimming gives you two-fold benefits: Aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening. Just keeping yourself afloat activates the back and abdomen. Take it slow to start—especially if you’re swimming in the pool at your health club or gym. The lanes can seem really long! Try swimming for 10 or 15 minutes a few times a week and gradually increase your time. The more you swim, the more effective—and meditative—the exercise becomes. Do the crawl stroke or butterfly for 30 minutes, and you’ll burn the most calories, says Harvard Health. Breaststroke is the next most effective lap-type swim followed by backstroke.

2. Don’t Tread Lightly.

tread water

Vigorously treading water for 30 minutes can result in 300 calories burned if you’re 125 pounds, 372 calories burned if you’re 155 pounds, and 444 calories if you’re 185 pounds. So here’s an idea: While your kiddos are swimming around in the backyard pool, join them and tread water while they play. Or, hit the pool early in the morning and ask a friend to join you. Together, you can catch up as you tread water. Partners motivate and can also help take your mind off the clock on the wall.

3. Use Your Noodle.

pool workout

Have a pool noodle? You can do some awesome water aerobics. Start slow and master your form and then move as quickly as you can to get your heart rate up. Repeat each exercise for 30 seconds to one minute.

  • Put the noodle behind you with your legs outstretched (like you’re sitting in a lounge chair).
    • Target your abs, glutes and back by stretching your legs out straight and twisting your hips side to side.
    • Work your abs, back and hamstrings by tucking your knees into your chest and then kicking your legs out straight.
    • Open and close your legs (in an east/west direction), and you’ll tone your hips, inner thighs and glutes. Your abs are working here, too.
  • Put the noodle in front of you (around your chest).
    • Stretch your legs out and quickly flutter kick (move your legs up and down, as though you were doing the crawl-stroke) but use your arms to swim in reverse, holding yourself stationary. This exercise works the whole body!
    • Another whole-body exercise is a frog kick: Touch your legs together, lock your knees and flex your feet, turning your toes outward. Bend your knees, bringing the heels to the buttocks, kick out to the sides and then snap your feet together. Again, swim in reverse with your arms to stay put and get your arms and shoulders involved.
    • Bicycle your legs by pedaling your legs in small and then large circles. This exercise targets the abs, legs and glutes.

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4. Go for a Run.

pool workout

Don’t know how to swim? You can still easily get in a pool workout. Then run from one end of the pool to the other, keeping your knees high. After you run forward for a few laps, run backwards and sideways. You can also try skipping or hopping. If your feet slip on the pool bottom, invest in some rubber-soled water shoes.

5. Be a Wallflower.

pool workout

Head to the shallow or deep end—wherever you find an empty spot—and try these exercises:

  • Sit on the side (or corner) of the pool and do some dips to work your shoulders, triceps and abs. Extend your legs and lower your body to the surface of the water. Keep your shoulders back and elbows together.
  • Lay on your stomach with your legs and arms fully extended, hands holding onto the pool ledge. Bend your arms, pulling your body in towards the side of the pool, keeping your body straight, flexed and afloat. Push yourself back out. This works your whole body.
  • Hold on the ledge, tuck your feet into your chest and put your feet flat on the wall. Alternate kicking sideways (out to the side), returning each foot to the pool wall before repeating. This tones the hips, glutes, legs and abs.