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Looking for a cool — and good — workout? Suit up and head to the pool

Want to get your exercise fix and remain cool? A water workout could very well be your answer. The constant resistance of the water offers a good workout. In the past, water fitness was believed to be for the older generation or pregnant women. That's not so today. The benefits of water exercise are being enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. The pool has become a fitness gym for athletic conditioning.

To quote a lady in one of my water classes: "In the water, there's no pain."

According to the American Council on Exercise, exercising in water makes you feel about 90 percent lighter. Because the buoyancy of water reduces the impact you would have on land, water aerobic classes are ideal for people with arthritis, back issues, knee problems or foot and leg issues. And today's water fitness classes have expanded to include aqua Zumba, aqua yoga, tai chi and kickboxing. There's even an aqua abs workout.

Water wonders

Water workouts can:

• Relax sore muscles.

• Increase range of motion.

• Provide a cool cardio and strength workout.

• Build up endurance.

• Reduce stress levels.

• Improve balance.

• Help decrease blood pressure.

• Provide a fun social experience.

Pick your level

Water-based fitness classes offer three different depths in which to move: waist level, water level between chest and shoulder and water deep enough that your feet do not touch the bottom of the pool. In deep water you would be wearing a flotation device to give you support while you are performing exercise movements. If you have no experience with swimming, take your workout to the shallow end of the pool, and wear aquatic shoes.

Fun and functional tools

Here are some favorites:

• Water noodles, which help support you for some of the movements

• Aquatic boards, which help support your upper body while you are performing lower body exercises

• Buoyancy belts, which provide stability when exercising in deep water

• AquaJogger belts, which support the lower back when you are vertical in shoulder-level water

• An underwater trampoline

• Water weights, water fan paddles, dumbbells

• Exercise balls

• Aqua gloves

Just getting started?

Beginners might want to start by taking their walk to the pool. Begin in water at least waist high. Walk across the pool with a straight back, swinging your arms as you would on land. Swinging your arms with palms facing up or wearing aqua gloves will add an upper body workout. Keep your abdominals contracted and avoid rounded shoulders by leaning too far forward. For variety, try walking backward, side stepping, doing high knee lifts with a rotation or doing walking lunges with your front knee bent at 90 degrees and your back leg straight.

Contact Sally Anderson at slafit@tampabay.rr.com.

Your move

Demonstrated by Earl Vaughn

Bicycle with noodle: targets the legs and core.

Using a pool noodle to support your upper body, begin moving your legs as if you were riding a bicycle. You may also sit on the noodle like you are riding a horse and move your legs in a jogging or circular motion. To help you travel through the water, while sitting on the noodle, move your arms in a jogging motion or a modified breaststroke. If you don't have a noodle, place your elbows on the edge of the pool.

Chest fly with paddles: targets the chest, shoulders and upper back muscles.

Stand in shoulder-height water in a lunge position, which helps to stabilize you with the movement, with a paddle in each hand. Extend straight arms with elbows slightly bent in front of your chest, palms facing each other. Pull your shoulders back as you push your arms through the water, then slowly bring the arms together as you push the water forward, hands near the surface, repeating eight to 12 times.

Knee lift with rotation: targets the core. When you move quickly, it becomes a cardio exercise.

In a standing position, bring one knee toward your chest as high as you comfortably can, rotating your opposite shoulder toward the lifted knee. Alternate knee lifting with opposite shoulders on each side for eight to 12 repetitions.

Tip: Avoid rounding forward.

Looking for a cool — and good — workout? Suit up and head to the pool 06/26/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 5:32am]
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