If you're thinking about getting in the pool for your workouts, you're not alone. Swimming is the fourth most popular form of exercise in the United States. Besides helping you get rid of jiggly fat, swimming and water-based workouts can help you tone and strengthen your muscles for a bod that always looks beach-ready.
Easy-on-the-Joints Strength Training
Strength training is important for strong, sexy muscles, but it also increases bone density for stronger bones. While land-based exercises might prove hard on your joints, working out in the water can help prevent joint pain that's caused or aggravated by doing land-based cardio or weight training exercises. Besides causing less stress on your joints, water-based exercise will strengthen the muscles surrounding your ankle, knee and hip joints, making it easier to exercise out of water, too.
Cardio and Muscle-Toning Combined
Whether you swim laps, take a water aerobics class or do a water-based circuit training workout, you'll enjoy the efficiency of burning calories and toning your muscles simultaneously. As you move through the water you won't have to deal with the uncomfortable, jarring effects of jogging or walking. Likewise, the natural resistance provided by the water works your muscles just as effectively as traditional weight training exercises, but the water's buoyancy supports your weights and prevents too much stress on your joints.
Strength Training in the Pool
As you kick your legs and move your arms during swimming, you'll engage muscles all over your body and tone them. You can work your arms out further by cupping your hands and moving them back and forth in the water. Equipment such as water paddles and flippers can help you tone your upper and lower body muscles as you kick your legs back and forth, do leg lifts, push your arms out from your chest, and do bicep curls and tricep kickbacks in the water. Add a little beach ball fun and work your muscles by pressing a beach ball below the water and underneath you as you float on your stomach.
Keep in Mind
To tone and build your muscles, get in the water for your pool strength training workout two to three times per week. Do your exercises for 20 to 30 minutes each session. You can also supplement your water-based strength training sessions with one or two land-based sessions, alternating between the two of them as your joints and muscles become stronger and the weight falls off. Before you get started on your swimming pool workout, check in with your doctor to get the OK.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Healthy Swimming/Recreational Water
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training -- Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- Arthritis Today: Water Walking 101
- American Council on Exercise: Get into the Swim of Things
- Georgia State University: Swimming
- Fitness: Slim Down in a Splash -- Pool Workout
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.