Are you making the most of your neighborhood pool? Until recently, the pool has only been useful to me when I’ve been in need of a tan, some eye candy, or a few extra dollars (made by life guarding). Last summer when I was injured and unable to run, I learned the art of exercising in the pool, and how useful neighborhood pools can be (and later, when my pool closed, how convenient they are!). From running in the pool to swimming laps, I’ve compiled a few great workouts to help you stay in shape if you’re an injured runner, or to get into better shape while cooling off in the pool!
1. Aqua Jog- Running outside is great when it’s not humid and 60 degrees out, but it can get dangerous when temperatures soar and humidity builds during the summer. When the only safe time to run is at 7 am, and it just isn’t possible to wake up that early, aqua jogging is a great substitute to running. The goal of an aqua-jogging workout is to mimic a run on land. Take advantage of the deep end of your pool and move your arms and legs in the same way you would if you were running on land. At first, it will feel weird. To help beginners flot, aqua jogging belts can be used, but I would recommend not using the belt, and starting out for a shorter period of time and gradually increase the length of the workout as fitness increases. Workouts can be long, steady jogs or more intense intervals, depending on what you want out of the workout. If you’re the type of person who gets bored running in the same place for a period of time, try visualizing that you are running outside or on a track. This has really helped me. Bringing friends and a stereo is another great way to be entertained while aqua jogging! Two examples of workouts are listed below.
30-Minute Interval Workout
10 minute warm-up (jog at an easy pace)
10 x 30 seconds fast, 30 seconds easy
10-15 min cool down
60-Minute Intervals and Endurance
10 minute warm-up
20 minutes increasing effort every 5 minutes
10 x I minute faster, 1 minute easy
10 minute cooldown
2. Swim laps- Grab some goggles and a cap (especially if you have long hair), and challenge yourself to swim a mile (64 laps). If the idea of swimming straight for 64 laps, or 1650 yards seems boring and daunting, switch it up by swimming 10 laps warm up, then add a short interval workout for the next 40 laps, and take it easy for the last 14 laps. The intervals can be as simple as one lap fast one lap easy, or as complex as 10 x 4 laps “build”, or increasing speed every lap until you reach sprint speed. Bring a kickboard along if you want extra leg work, and challenge yourself to swim half of it just kicking. Kick board workouts are also great way to get a workout in while socializing with friends, since your head will be out of the water.
3. Tread Water- Don’t have much time? Treading workouts are great for those rushed for time, as most of them last 10 minutes tops. Simply treading water vigorously can burn 11 calories per minute, and adding challenges every minute can burn even more. Bring a beach ball and a group of friends and pass the beach ball around while kicking legs frog-style or flutter kick under you. The beach ball will challenge you to hold your arms out of the water. Livestrong.com has some great tutorial videos on how to tread water, including the video attached, on basic technique for treading water effectively. (http://www.livestrong.com/video/127-tread-water-aqua-fitness-workouts/)
4. Water Yoga- If you can’t find an excuse to use pull out that old pool “noodle” float you’ve had since you were 10, water yoga, a new type of exercise which transforms yoga movements from land to the water, may give you a reason to bring that noodle back to the pool. Water yoga is best practiced in hot water- anywhere from 85-90 degrees, a perfect use for hot pools at the end of the summer. Yoga Afloat videos can be purchased for $20 at http://www.yogaafloat.com/videosandmusic.php, and are very beneficial for those with tight muscles.
5. Water Polo- Play water polo with a group of friends in the deep end. Water polo incorporates both swimming and treading water, and by playing with a team against another team, water polo is probably the least mundane of all water exercises. Water polo can burn from 600-900 calories per hour.
So my challenge for you this week is this: grab a bathing suit, beach ball, goggles, some summer tunes, and a group of friends. Head to the pool for a great workout, and enjoy the benefits of a great tan and toned body post workout!