Summer is right around the corner and as temperatures begin to rise in the valley, pools are calling out to us. Pools serve many purposes here in Arizona, especially for cooling off and entertaining. But pools also serve as a great source for exercise, and aquatic exercise provides many health benefits. In this blog, we’ll talk about the benefits of aquatic exercise, give some tips and recommendations, and provide 5 pool exercises you can do at home, the gym, or your neighborhood pool.
Benefits of Aquatic Exercise
The body systems that receive the most benefits from aquatic exercise include the cardiovascular system and musculoskeletal system. The hydrostatic pressure of water can decrease any edema or swelling and help with circulation. Water buoyancy supports part of your body weight, which makes it easier to move and unload any painful joints. Water also provides resistance to some movements to strengthen muscles. All of these benefits help to improve strength, cardiovascular endurance, and overall fitness levels and activity tolerance.
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 very important consideration.
Tips and Recommendations
- Water shoes help to provide traction on the pool floor.
- Using webbed water gloves, foam weights, inflated balls, or kickboards can provide increased resistance and create a challenge.
- Using a foam noodle or floatation belt can help keep you stay afloat in deeper water.
- 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.
5 Pool Exercises to Do at Home or at Your Neighborhood Pool
- Squats: Bring feet shoulder width apart and squat down as if you are going to sit in a chair. To increase the difficulty, use foam weights at the surface of the water.
- Marching: Lift one leg up to 90 degrees as if you are marching, then lower leg down to the pool floor and repeat with the opposite leg. Keep feet under your shoulders and core tight the entire time.
- Forward Lunges: Begin with feet shoulder-width apart, then take a step forward and allow the front and back knee to bend. Keep pelvis level the entire time. Return to starting position and repeat with the other leg.
- 4 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.
- Wall Push Up: Begin with feet together, away from the pool wall, and place your hands on the edge of the pool. Keeping your back straight and core activated, bend your elbows to lower your upper body towards the wall, then push self up to return to start position.
If you have access to a pool, these are exercises you can do at home. Like any exercise, if you’re experiencing pain you should stop performing the action immediately. If the pain persists, we can help. Start by scheduling an appointment with us.