We all hate that word: cardio.
Yes, we know how important it is, but the thought of donning those spandex shorts and hitting the pavement makes you exhausted just thinking about it.
Exercise, particularly exercise that works your heart, is essential to living a healthy, long life. So, instead of dreading it, find a way to love it by figuring out what type of physical activity works for you.
Aerobic workouts, exercise that gets your heart pumping and oxygen flowing, can help reduce your chance of getting sick. One of the best ways to work out? Swimming.
Performing simple aerobic exercises in water has long been dubbed a workout for the elderly, but that’s no longer true. Health conscious individuals of all ages are diving into water aerobics because it burns crazy calories, while feeling like play.
In fact, simply treading water vigorously can burn 11 calories a minute, the same as you’d get from a six-mile-per-hour run.
“Plus, water’s continuous resistance forces you to generate more muscle fibers through a larger range of motion,” says Greg Moe, a master trainer for Rough-Fit outdoor fitness programs. So you get a full-body workout, plus that dreaded cardio, all while splashing around in the pool. Now, this could be in your own pool (especially if you’ve recently had a pool remodel), in your local community pool, or just the pool of the resort you’re staying in.
If you’re ready to start using aerobic exercise to get fit this summer, here is a beginner workout to get you started!
1. Water Squats
Stand in waist-high water with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees slowly while pushing your hips back to get into a sitting position. Make sure to keep your knees behind your toes by sinking your hips down and straightening your back. Slowly rise up, squeezing your glutes as you return to the starting position.
Repeat 8-10 times, increasing repetitions as your ability improves.
2. Leg Lift
Stand in shoulder-deep water, holding onto the edge of the pool for balance. Slowly, extend your right leg to the right of your body, keeping it as straight as possible, as far up as you can bring it. Keep your toes at a 90-degree angle and pointed. Be careful not to overextend your muscles at first, just bring your leg up as far as you can. Keep your ankles strong and your hips straight as you raise and lower your leg.
Do 10-12 reps with each leg. Put a folded pool noodle under your foot to add resistance.
3. Pike Scull
Stand in the shallow end of the pool and sit back in the water while treading with your hands by your side. As you sit back, lift both legs together, toes pointed, so that you create a wide V with your body. Your head and toes should be just above the surface. Hold this position as you propel yourself across the pool with your hands. Keep your core tight to keep your toes above water.
Move from one end of the pool to the other until you’ve held the position for at least 30 seconds.
Move to the deep end of the pool. Tread water by making small circles with cupped hands. Lift your right leg straight forward in front of you, toes pointed, with your goal being to reach hip level. At the same time, point your left leg down toward the bottom of the pool, toes pointed. You will make an imaginary K with your legs. Squeeze your glutes for maximum results.
Alternate legs, holding each leg up for five seconds at a time. Continue for 30 total seconds.
This workout whips your core into shape! Lean your elbows on the pool edge and, using your core muscles, raise your legs up to about six inches beneath the surface of the water. Peddle one foot after the other, as if you’re on a vertical bicycle, allowing your knees to crack the surface of the water.
Peddle as hard as you can for 30 seconds, and then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat four times.
6. Lateral Raises
In shoulder-deep water, hold a pool weight in each hand. With your back to the edge of the pool, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms to your sides. Slowly raise both arms straight out from your sides until they are parallel with the water-level of the pool. Pause for a moment, and then release your arms back down. Exhale between each repetition.
Repeat 10-15 times, increasing your repetitions as your strength improves.
7. Wave Maker
Facing the edge of the pool, stand in chest-deep water. Hold on to the pool’s edge with your left hand and place your right palm, fingers down, against the wall for stability. Extend your legs behind you and raise them to water level, with both feet and knees together. Kick mermaid-style, transferring movement from your abs, to hips, to thighs, to knees and then to your feet.
Kick as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds, trying to make the biggest waves possible with your body.
You’ve got to get a workout in somehow. Why not do it while catching rays at the pool?
These are some great, basic exercises to get you started, but your aerobic workout can be as simple or advanced as you like. You’ll be amazed at how good you feel each time you get out of the pool, and you’re friends are sure to notice that shrinking waistline!