Aqua aerobics is a great way to get in shape – since it’s a low impact form of exercise, there’s a better chance that a newcomer will maintain the workout routine. Plus, you don’t need any fancy workout equipment, just a bathing suit and a foam noodle (you can find one here). While there are numerous exercises that can be performed in the water, here are five great ones which provide a well-rounded workout.
1. Plank in the water
It’s always important to focus on core work, since other exercises fare better with a strong core. On land, you perform the plank by getting into a pushup position, then sinking down to your elbows and forearms. With your back straight, hold the position for as long as possible.
In the water, this exercise requires a foam noodle – similar to the kind your kids play with at the pool, but made of sturdier, thicker foam. Grasp the noodle with your hands about shoulder width apart, then sink down into the water, with your head well above water. With your back straight and your legs extended behind you, hold this position for as long as possible.
2. Pool cardio
For those of you just starting out, this is a great way to get your heart rate up. This is an interval exercise, so try to keep it up for three minutes if you can. In chest deep water, hold a good running posture with a straight back, leaning slightly into the water. Run a zigzag motion from one end (or side) of the pool to the other, to stir up the water and create some current. Then run back through the turbulence you created, to force your body to work through more resistance.
This exercise is the equivalent to a weight station that works the upper chest, back and arms. In chest deep water, start in a lunge position with one knee extended forward, the other leg straight out behind you. Place your hands together in front of you, palms turned outward, thumbs down. Pull your hands back until they are by your side, perpendicular to your body. Turn your hands until they face forward, and push them forward until they are back together. That is one rep. Try for 8 to 15 reps to make up one set. Then perform four sets, alternating the forward leg for each set.
4. Cardio core combination running
This exercise provides a cardio component while strengthening the core. Take a six-inch inflated ball and hold it directly in front of your navel. In chest deep water, run back and forth across the pool for 1 minute, as fast as you can. Catch your breath for about 30 seconds, then repeat two to three more times. You’ll find youself breathing hard while feeling a burn in your core.
5. Wall climb
This is a fun exercise, but definitely challenges the legs! Stand near the wall of the pool, facing it, in chest deep water. Begin a treading water motion, and while you’re doing it, climb the wall of the pool with your legs before running them back down to the starting position. Each time you “climb,” alternate the lead leg. Try for 4 sets of this exercise, with 8 to 10 reps per set. Expect to feel it in your legs and your arms.
The beauty of working out in the water is that you can work the core, legs and arms, all while getting a cardio workout, without a lot of weights. Not to mention, the low impact exercise is easy on the joints – great for anyone who is battling arthritis, an injury, or is simply carrying a little extra weight.