8 Pool Exercises That Burn Fat Fast
20 Jun 8 Pool Exercises That Burn Fat Fast
8 Pool Exercises That Burn Fat Fast
Working out is fun when you’re splashing in your gym or community pool. Aquatic exercises can burn fat faster. They’re healing too, easing symptoms for arthritis and fibromyalgia sufferers. Dive into summer with 8 moves that’ll keep you fit no matter what shape you’re in. Plus, what’s your fitness style? Take our quiz to find out…
Water is one of the best fitness tools: It provides resistance, which strengthens muscles and boosts cardio intensity. It also supports some of your weight, making workouts easier on joints and reducing injury.
Aquatic exercises can help you heal faster too. Doctors often recommend them for people with joint injuries, infections or surgeries as a way to stay fit and shorten recovery time.
They also can ease symptoms of chronic conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia and arthritis.
“Working out in water is very safe because no joints or bones are forced to bear too heavy a load,” says Andrew Jones, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in Chapel Hill, N.C.
That’s why it’s such a great low-impact initiation into fitness if you’re obese or just way out of shape. –
Pool workouts give you “better balance, agility and endurance, which is a great confidence boost for anyone who has shied away from exercise in the past,” says Mary Sanders, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine and co-author of YMCA Water Fitness for Health.
It’s also a great fat-burner. “You can burn a higher level of calories in a shorter time in the pool,” she says.
Best of all, working out in the water doesn’t feel like, well, work.
“It’s impossible not to smile as you jump into a pool — and enjoying your workout is the best way to make sure you’ll stick with it,” Sanders says.
To get the most of your water workout, follow these tips:
Don’t go deeper than waist-high. That way your feet will have good contact with the pool floor and your leg muscles will be able to support some of your weight.
Wear water shoes to improve traction and webbed gloves (usually made of Neoprene with webbing between the fingers) to add resistance and intensity to arm movements, Sanders suggests. (They’re not expensive: Gloves cost about $20 from Amazon.com; shoes are under $30.)
Drink lots of water during and after your workout: “You can get dehydrated in the pool as easily as you can on land,” she says.
One of the easiest and most effective pool workouts is water jogging. At high intensity, this popular exercise can burn 17 calories per minute — more than on land. It also makes you stronger.
Sanders advises her clients to jog for one-to three-minute intervals in waist-high water, then alternate with less cardio-heavy water exercises.
“It lets you keep the number of calories burned high, but doesn’t require the endurance to jog for more than several minutes at a time,” she says.
Ready to jump in? Many gyms, community recreation centers and Ys with pools offer water aerobics classes. But if you’re ready to go it alone, add these 8 fun water exercises to your aquatic jogging routine (demonstrated by model Diane Stajszczak):
Climb the pool wall like Spiderman climbs buildings! This exercise helps you defy gravity in a way that just isn’t possible on land. It also provides a unique challenge to your core and back muscles.
How to do it: While standing in water at the side of the pool, stabilize your upper body by sweeping your hands back and forth as you run your legs up the side of the pool and then back down to the floor. Do four Spiderman exercises, alternating the leading leg each time you reach the end of one jogging circuit. –
2. Pool Plank
Planks are a proven core strengthener on land. But if you don’t have a strong upper body, it’s hard to hold it long enough to give abdominal muscles a good workout. All of that changes in a pool. Plus, planks boost your endurance and “the water pushing and pulling on you increases the challenge to your core,” Sanders explains.
How to do it: Stand on the pool floor. Hold a noodle (it’s also called a “water log,” a long cylindrical piece of foam that floats) vertically in both hands. Press it straight down into the water and lean forward until your body is on an even incline. (Your head stays out of the water.) Try to keep yourself stable for 1-2 minutes.
3. Chaos Cardio
This exercise takes jogging to a new level. By creating several currents in the pool and then running through them, you’ll strengthen all your core stabilizing muscles.
“Be sure to run with proper alignment — ears, shoulders and hips in one vertical line — so your core is forced to do the work of keeping you upright, not your shoulders or your legs,” Sanders says. –
How to do it: Run in a zigzag pattern from one end of the pool to the other, then run straight through all the currents you’ve just created. Do these in three-minute intervals, alternating with something less cardio-intensive, such as Pool Plank or One-Legged Balance (next exercise).
4. One-Legged Balance
This strengthens your leg and core muscles, the ones responsible for balance, without the risk of falling and hurting yourself.
“The core has to kick in to keep you upright, increasing your static balance,” Sanders says.
How to do it: Standing in waist-high water, lift your left knee up and place the middle of a noodle under your left foot. (Its sides will float up into a U-shape.) Keep your hands by your side and balance with your left foot on the noodle for one minute. Then move your left knee out to the side and balance for another minute. Switch legs and repeat with the right knee lifted and the right foot resting on the noodle.
For an extra challenge, lift both arms up over your head as you balance.
If you’re in the pool with your kids, have them jog in circles around you to create currents that will further challenge your balance. –
5. Fly Backs
On land and in water, fly backs work the muscles in the upper chest, back and arms. They also improve posture.
How to do it: Start in a lunge position with your right knee bent and your left leg extended straight behind you. Reach your arms straight out in front of you at chest height — palms touching, fingers extended and thumbs up. Open your arms straight out to the sides, then return them to the starting position to complete one rep.
Do four sets of 8-15 reps, switching the forward leg each time you lunge. To boost your cardio workout and the number of calories you burn, do your reps while walking or jogging across the pool.
6. Cardio/Resistance Combo
Strengthen your upper chest, back, arms and core with this challenging drill. It also raises your heart rate and burns more calories.
How to do it: Straddle a noodle as if you were sitting on a horse. Pedal around the pool as fast as you can while doing the arm portion of Fly Backs (see above). Sit up tall with your spine vertical — no leaning. This will force your core muscles to keep you stable. Continue for 3 minutes. –
7. Core Ball Static Challenge
This deceptively simple-looking exercise strengthens your core as you work to keep yourself upright. By changing the position of your arms and legs, it becomes four exercises in one.
How to do it:
Version A: Stand in a lunge with your right leg bent and your left extended behind you. Hold an inflated ball about 6 inches in diameter (like those found in a drugstore or toy store) with both hands directly in front of your navel. Keep your shoulders down and back. Hold this position for 30 seconds, engaging your core to keep you upright. Switch legs and hold for another 30 seconds.
Version B: Do the entire exercise one more time, this time holding the ball with your arms outstretched — so the ball is just under the surface of the water — for added challenge to your core.
Version C: Move your legs out of the lunge and balance on your right leg with your left knee lifted. Hold the ball in front of your navel as in version A and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat while standing on the left leg with the right knee lifted.
Version D: Balance again on your right foot, left knee lifted. Hold the ball with arms outstretched as in version B and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat while standing on the left leg with the right knee lifted. –
This exercise combines old-fashioned cardio with core strengthening: The ball will add extra resistance and pull you off-center, so your core muscles will have to engage to keep you moving forward. Changing the position of the ball works your core even harder.
How to do it:
Version A: Hold the ball with both hands directly in front of your navel. Run across the pool as fast as you can for one minute. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat three more times, increasing speed through each rep.
Version B: Tuck the ball under your right arm at waist height. Keeping both shoulders facing forward (without twisting toward the ball), run across the pool as fast as you can for one minute. Move the ball to your left side and run for another minute. Repeat four times, running faster each time.
What’s Your Fitness Style?
There are specific aspects of your personality that determine what kind of exerciser you are, so if you’re in a fitness rut, it’s time to put your unique interests back into the equation. Take this quiz to find out what types of exercise are right for you. –
click here for the water workouts slideshow