“The water is your friend. You don’t have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move.” ~Aleksandr Popov
What a great friend the water can be. So cool and inviting on these toasty summer days. Water has a magical effect – at once soothing and invigorating – and fun for people of all ages and abilities.
But churning out laps is not the only way to burn calories in the water. Aquatic exercise is making a big splash at pools across the U.S., offering new twists in water workouts such as Aqua Action, Aqua Yoga, Water Tai Chi and Aquarobics. Aquarobics is a unique approach to cardiovascular exercise in water. You start with stretching moves that warm you up, then move on to the aerobic (20 minutes) and strengthening phases and end with a cool down. You can be creative and design your own exercises to fit your personal health needs. You can start a group, join a group, or exercise on your own, but for safety reasons it’s best to not be alone in a pool during your workout.
Start slowly, increasing your time in the water as you become stronger and get used to the water’s gravitational forces. Water provides a safe workout venue that even non-swimmers can pursue in the shallow end of the pool – and you don’t even have to get your hair wet!
Before I share a Sample Workout, it’s important to note that keeping a check on your heart rate during your workout is a smart idea. Never exceed your maximum heart rate, which is calculated by subtracting your age from 220. Check with your physician first for recommendations on heart rate limits. Generally speaking, for beginners it is best not to exceed 70% of your maximum heart rate.
First immerse your self at a level where you feel most comfortable in the water. Each exercise below can be done between 10 and 20 times, depending upon your own preferences and endurance. If one of these moves bothers you, simply skip it. Turn on some music to spice things up a bit.
- Climb the mountain
- Tick tock side stretches, arms overhead
- Side bends
- Arm circles, forward and backwards
- Front scissor walk
- Rockettes leg kicks
- Helicopter waist twister, straight arms outstretched side to side
- Elbows to opposite knees
- Hug your knees, one at a time
- Hula pelvic circles
- Chubby Checker twist, alternating legs
- Touchdown front arm raises
- Airplane side arm raises
- Straight arm hand claps
- Row the boat, hands open
- Fencing lunges, both sides
- Forward march
- Ski jumps, side to side
- Golf swings
- Karate kicks with punch
- Partial back bends
- Surf board lunges, alternating legs
- Trampoline jumps, two legs then alternating one leg
- Rocking horse
- Jumping jacks
- Bicep curls
- Charleston kicks, slap hands to ankles behind you
- Donkey kicks, alternating legs
- Speed skater lunges
- Take a jog
- Washing machine twist, bent arms chest high
- Walk it out
- Climb down the mountain
- Take a bow to four corners
Be sure to hydrate after your workout – and if you’re outside, don’t forget the sunscreen. Most importantly, enjoy your workout. And just remember When You’re Moving, You’re Improving, even when you’re all wet!