It's tempting to fall into a sedentary lifestyle, especially with work and family responsibilities absorbing your time. Hitting the gym pool becomes a relaxing excursion instead of a calorie burn workout. It's time to stop floating and start shedding calories. One hour of interval water aerobics can burn 402 calories -- or more based on your weight -- while also helping with flexibility and strength. Talk with your doctor before trying water aerobics.
Step into warm, chest high water for a 10-minute aquatic kickboxing workout. Warm up with alternating jogging and jumping jacks for two minutes. Do rapid high kicks with your left leg for 30 seconds next. Don't strain yourself. Only go as high as your leg will allow. Balance on your right leg. Follow with one minute of flutter kicks, using a kickboard -- have these nearby for quick access. Toss the board for 30 seconds of cross punches using both arms, keeping your arms submerged for resistance. Repeat the 30-second kick, alternating legs followed by a one-minute recovery. Stay with flutter kicks or walk the pool while dragging your arms. Repeat the full 30-1-30-1 cycle twice, and end with a two-minute cool down.
Alternate this toning workout with the above cardio routine to burn calories treading water. For every 60 seconds you tread between intense intervals, you burn 11 calories. Tone your whole body with k-treads, otter rolls, ball levers, pike sculls and wave makers. Hold onto the pool's edge with your left hand, staying in the chest-deep end. Move your right hand below your left elbow and turn your fingers south. Place your palm on the wall. Thrust your legs back and push them up and together. For 30 seconds, make vigorous, repetitive dolphin-esque kicks. Do each exercise one time and for 30 seconds, and follow with 60 seconds of restful treading.
Press play on the CD player, swing your hips, drag your hand through the water and move your legs from side-to-side as you jam to the music. Aqua dancing removes the joint jarring of traditional on-land aerobic dancing. Aqua dance uses the same cardio-pumping sequences -- the warmup, intervals and cool down, without all the sweat. Usually music determines the interval pace in aqua dance. Instructors set routines to upbeat music interspersed with slower movements to emphasize rest periods. This helps them create a class exercise tempo, but move at your speed.
Items you will need
- Swimming pool
- Beach balls
- Aqua dance class
- Wear rubber-soled, non-slip pool shoes for added traction and goggles to protect your eyes from chlorine. Ask about your instructor's qualifications and certifications. Celebrity personal trainer Bob Greene suggests looking for credentialing from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America -- AFAA -- and the American Council on Exercise -- ACE. Check that both your instructor and a poolside lifeguard have cardiopulmonary resuscitation -- CPR -- and basic first aid certification. Lifeguards should stay on duty while your class is in session.
- Aquatic Fitness Professional Manual; Aquatic Exercise Association
- Fitness: A Pool Routine for Every Level: Beginner
- Fitness: Slim Down in a Splash: Pool Workout
- Keep the Connection: Choices For a Better Body and a Healthier Life; Bob Greene
- Water Aerobics for Fitness and Wellness; Terry-Ann Spitzer Gibson, Wener W. K. Hoeger
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- American Council on Exercise: Make a Splash With Water Fitness
- Photodisc/Valueline/Getty Images