Summer is right around the corner, and as temperatures begin to rise in Arizona, pools call out to us. Pools are not only great for entertaining and cooling off, but they serve as a great source of exercise. The body systems that receive the most benefits from aquatic exercise include the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. The hydrostatic pressure of water can decrease any edema or swelling and help with circulation. Water buoyancy supports part of your body weight, making it easier to move and unload any painful joints. Water also provides resistance to some movements to strengthen muscles. These benefits help improve strength, cardiovascular endurance, overall fitness levels, and activity tolerance.
Here are five pool exercises you can do at home, at the gym, or your neighborhood pool:
Bring feet shoulder-width apart and squat down as if you will sit in a chair. To increase the difficulty, use foam weights at the water’s surface.
Lift one leg up to 90 degrees as if you are marching, lower your leg down to the pool floor and repeat with the opposite leg. Keep feet under your shoulders and core tight the entire time.
3. Forward Lunges
Begin with feet shoulder-width apart, then take a step forward and allow the front and back knees to bend. Keep pelvis level the entire time. Return to starting position and repeat with the other leg.
4. Four-Way Hip Kicks
Start by standing with your feet under your hips, using the wall to support you if needed. Begin the first direction by crossing one leg in front of the supporting leg, then return to the starting position. Move to the next direction by kicking your leg directly in front of you while keeping your knee straight. The third direction is moving the same leg out to the side. The final position is moving the leg behind you.
5. Wall Push Up
Begin with feet together, away from the pool wall, and place your hands on the pool’s edge. Keeping your back straight and core activated, bend your elbows to lower your upper body towards the wall, then push yourself up to return to the start position.
Before beginning any pool exercise program, check with your physical therapist or physician to ensure pool exercises are right for you. Water safety is a crucial consideration.
Aquatic Exercise Recommendations
- Water shoes help to provide traction on the pool floor.
- Using webbed water gloves, foam weights, inflated balls, or kickboards can increase resistance and create a challenge.
- Using a foam noodle or floatation belt can help stay afloat in deeper water.
- The water level can be waist or chest high.
- Slower movements will provide less resistance than faster movements.
- Never push your body through pain during any exercise.
- Although you will not sweat with pool exercises, always drink plenty of water.
If you’re experiencing pain during exercise, you should stop performing the action immediately. If the pain persists, we can help. Start by scheduling a FREE injury assessment at a location near you.