Adding a little water to your workout routine may be “abs”olutely great for helping you tone your tummy. While there’s no magic formula to specifically melt away unwanted belly flab, the right lap swimming or water exercise workout can help you tone those abs and burn calories to promote overall weight loss.
Exercising with Added Resistance
Water provides 12 times the resistance of air, making the pool an ideal environment for working your core and toning your abs while burning calories. You can even increase the resistance, much like adding weights to your exercises on land, by speeding up your movement in the water and adding traveling to some of the exercises. To realize the muscle-strengthening health benefits of resistance training, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you’ll need to do them at least twice a week at a steady pace and hard enough so that each set leaves you feeling that you can’t go on without slowing or resting.
Core exercises help tone up those underlying muscles, explains MayoClinic,com, and in addition to better posture, an added benefit you’ll get from working the core is more muscle -- more defined abs. This is great if you want to burn calories to lose fat, since the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn. One simple core exercise anyone can do in shallow water is walking backward. Add to the water’s resistance by using a noodle or kickboard. Hold either one out in front of you and just below the surface of the water to add some drag as you pull it through the water walking backward.
Deep Water Exercises
Head to the deep end of the pool to exercise in the zero-impact environment, perfect for maximizing the benefits of the water’s resistance. Do deep-water running, marching, walking or cross-country ski exercises to work your core, and while you’re at it you’ll enjoy the benefits of an aerobic workout. Use a flotation belt or vest to help you maintain your position in the water, and add webbed gloves or swim fins for added resistance.
Swim Fin Exercises
One of the best things you can do for your abs is to add fins to your water exercise routine. You’ll move more water with your legs if you use fins, and that means you’re getting more resistance and the toning benefits that come with it. Maximize those benefits by wearing fins to flutter kick while in a vertical position in the deep water. Imagine that you’re trying to kick yourself straight up and out of the pool like a rocket, with a small, quick flutter kick. Dolphin kicking is also great for the abs and can be done in the same vertical position while wearing fins.
Christy Ayala writes about recreation, sports, aquatics, healthy living, family and parenting, language development, organizational change, pets and animals. Ayala holds a master's degree in recreation administration from Aurora University’s George Williams College, a graduate certificate in organizational change from Hawaii Pacific University and a bachelor's degree in Spanish from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.