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Get in shape with these poolside exercises

When it is 100 degrees outside, I have difficulty motivating myself to to go for a run. Add in kids at home and it is easy to find excuses not to get in a workout. After all, you want to spend as much time with the kids as possible, and sometimes, you just don’t have childcare.

Fortunately, there are lots of exercises that you can do in the pool while the kids are having fun. We asked Sabina Weaver, a water bootcamp instructor at the Eastside YMCA and Middle Tyger YMCA and physical therapist with His Therapy, for a full-body water workout that will torch calories and keep you in shape. Prior to completing the workout, Weaver recommends warming up and stretching.

Arm swings: Stand with the feet apart, arms extended straight in front of you holding a ball. Breathing rhythmically, push your arms under the water, and swing them into a figure-of-eight pattern through the water. Feel the varying resistance on the arms and upper body. Move your arms in a smooth rhythm, making sure not to strain your neck or lower back. Repeat 10 times.

Water marching: Stand up straight, inhaling evenly. Make continuous strides as if marching on the spot, extending arms and legs as far as you can. The resistance created by water will keep the march in slow motion. Stretch your limbs out fully, pointing your toes and pulling your arms vigorously back and forth. Start with two minutes or until you are slightly breathless. Aim for a good rhythmic walking movement.

Water walking, forward, backward and side to side: “Walking in the water in different directions is a very beneficial cardio and toning exercise,” Weaver said.

Keep your arms out to the side and walk heel to toe.

Jumping Jacks: “This exercise is dependent on your fitness level, so if you are a beginner do not be disappointed by the result,” Weaver said. “With a lot of practice, you will be able to perform this exercise.”

Start with your feet flat on the bottom of the pool and your arms relaxed by your sides. Bend your knees and spring up off the bottom of the pool as high as you can. As you jump, kick your legs out to the sides pointing your toes down and swinging your arms out to the side and up above your head so that your limbs form a star shape. Land with knees bent and feet apart. Once again jump up as high as you can and bring your feet back and together with arms by your sides. Repeat 10 times.

Side stretch: Stand sideways next to the pool wall holding onto the edge with your arm fully extended, and feet flat on the pool floor. Inhale as you extend the outside arm overhead, stretching out the posterior part of your shoulders. Exhale as you lean hips away from poolside. Do 10 repetitions on each side.

Waist trimmer: With your back against the poolside, arm along the edge for support, draw your knees to your chest. Extend your legs straight ahead. Inhaling, swing your legs to your left and then to your right and back to the center. As you exhale move your legs to the front and withdraw to your chest. Repeat this for 10 times.

Total body stretch: Facing the side of the pool, grip the edge with your hands. Bend your knees and press your feet against the poolside as you inhale. While exhaling, move your hips back. Take care not to lock your knees or elbows or strain your back. Repeat 10 times.

Standing kickbacks: Stand arms length from the pool wall. Keep your shoulders relaxed, your feet together and arms hanging by your sides. Breathe normally. Rest both of your hands against the poolside at shoulder height. Keep your arms straight. Bend your knees a little, tucking in your bottom as you do so. Using your buttock and thigh muscles, raise your left leg and swing it gently back. Keep the supporting leg bent a little and don’t raise your leg too high. Do five repetitions with each leg.

Leg adduction and abduction: Stand with your back pressed to the poolside. Hold onto the wall of the pool for support. Keep your back straight and raise your legs. Try spreading out your legs with minimum strain on the back. Move your legs only from the hip joint. Now draw your legs simultaneously and smoothly together into the middle.

Floating on water: “Relaxation and calm stretching is an essential aspect of completing an exercise routine,” Weaver said. “Let your body lose and let it float on water. You will be amazed, how swimming helps you relax.”