Using Your Pool as a Gym: Exercises Beyond Laps that are Perfect for the Pool

Your pool provides a relaxing place to cool down on a warm summer day and get some exercise by swimming laps—but did you know that beyond laps, there are numerous ways to use your pool for a challenging full-body workout? In fact, exercising in the pool offers several advantages over land-based exercise. For example, the water provides more resistance than air, thereby increasing the difficulty level of your regular exercise regimen and enabling you to burn more calories in less time. In addition, the water offers support for your muscles and joints, which reduces the potentially harmful impacts of a vigorous workout and makes pool exercise a particularly safe option for people with arthritis, osteoporosis, and similar conditions.

If you’d like to use your pool as a gym this summer, here are a few simple exercises that will help you build strength and flexibility while burning calories:

  • Jumping jacks. When done against the resistance of the water, jumping jacks provide a particularly great workout for the muscles in your upper and lower body. Start by standing in water at chest level and aim to complete 1-3 sets of between 8-12 repetitions.
  • Leg kicks. For a killer leg and core workout, hold onto the ledge of the pool and try different leg kicks for 1-3 minutes each. For example, scissor-kick your legs open and closed, flutter-kick, or dolphin-kick (which involves moving your legs up and down together, with your knees bent on the way up).
  • Arm lifts. For this exercise, using foam dumbbells—which are lightweight when dry but become heavy when placed in water—is recommended as a way to add resistance. Begin by standing in water up to your shoulders and holding the dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing up. Keeping your elbows close to your torso, lift your forearms to the water line. Then, rotate your wrists so that your palms face down and return the weights to the starting position. Try to do 10-15 reps for 1-3 sets.
  • High-knee lift extensions. For this core and lower body workout, stand in water at waist height and lift one leg, bending your knee until the leg is level with the water. Hold this position for a few seconds before extending the leg straight outwards, and holding that position for a few seconds. Keep your leg straight as you slowly lower it back down; repeat with your other leg and continue alternating between the two for 5-10 minutes.

While all of these pool exercises can be performed without equipment, items like foam dumbbells and wrist or ankle weights can maximize the efficacy of your workout by increasing resistance. In addition, using floatation devices like a life vest or buoyancy belt is recommended if you’re not a strong swimmer.

Is your pool ready to be enjoyed for both exercise and leisure this season? Contact Aqua Pool & Patio today at 860-623-9886 to get it into prime condition!