This post is by OYS writer Melissa. You can see all of her posts here.
We decided to put a swimming pool in our backyard two years ago, and it was one of the best investments we have ever made. The enjoyment we have gotten out of our pool has been priceless, even with our short Buffalo summers. What I didn’t expect was how much the pool would enhance my exercise routine. In the summer, I still teach fitness classes four days a week at my local gym. I also like to go for short outdoor runs. Once we got the pool, I found myself starting to use it as another way to sneak in exercise as well.
This post is not just for people with swimming pools in their own backyards, however. You can benefit from my tips here by using a pool at your local gym or even a town community pool.
Swimming is an excellent exercise for both cardio purposes and toning up. The great thing about swimming is that anyone can do it, especially those of you with injuries that prevent you from doing high-impact cardio moves. Water provides great resistance that is easy on the joints. However, don’t be fooled by how easy swimming seems. It is actually really difficult exercise if you are doing it purposefully. I learned this quickly after we got the pool, when I thought I would swim ten laps on my first try. When you swim, you are going to really get your heart rate up and work your muscles in crazy new ways. Just make sure you set realistic expectations for yourself, and build up to anything that is too difficult, just like with any new exercise routine.
We have a long, oval-shaped above-ground pool in our backyard, which works well for these laps. This routine works best with a long pool. If you have a round pool, these moves might be difficult to do going in a circle, but try to modify them so they work for you. When you get in the pool, warm up by just moving around the pool leisurely for about five minutes. This routine is meant to last 20-30 minutes. Each “lap” means you go across the pool and back once. When you are done, be sure to keep moving slowly around the pool to let your body cool down. Because you will be in water, you won’t be sweating and may not notice how hard you are working. Once you are cooled down, feel free to climb on a raft and float around the pool for a while…you will have earned it!
Lap #1 – Freestyle
Lap #2 – Breast stroke
Lap #3 – Back stroke
Lap #4 – Run across the pool with your arms under water. You really have to push your body forward here. Water is way harder to run in!
Lap #5 – Kick your legs as you walk forward across the pool, left then right.
Lap #6 – Start with your arms outside of the water at your sides. Jump up and forward as you push your arms down into the water.
Lap #7 – Turn to the right. Leap sideways across the pool.
Lap #8 – Turn to the left. Leap sideways across the pool.
Lap #9 – Run backwards across the pool.
Lap #10 – Freestyle
Lap #11 – Breast stroke
Lap #12 – Back stroke
Do you have a pool? Do you use it for exercise? If so, I would love to hear about your routine and/or exercise tips.
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