Water workouts provide a demanding full-body exercise as they provide resistance from all vectors and angles. Swimming is a great aerobics exercise for toning parts of the body that aren’t actively moving, and are now supporting you against the resistance of the water. These workouts are also more unique because they provide firm resistance without impact. Loosing balance while lifting weights, or practicing the wrong form during machine workouts can injure the body as opposed to rarely tumbling over in the pool.
Swimming is more demanding and burns more calories than a 30-minute land workout. However, water workouts are not just restricted to swimming laps across the pool, there are several kinds of water workouts one can try:
Kick set: Focus on improving your kick in the water. This is a great cardiovascular activity that enables weight loss from the belly and thigh areas.
How to do it: Kick fast with floppy ankles and relaxed knees.
- Beginner’s level: 4 x 25 metres with a kickboard, keeping their face in the water and breathing out.
- Intermediate: 8 x 25 mts- Freestyle, backstroke or breaststroke. Kick using a kickboard with your head up and arms over the board (free and breast). For backstroke, the board can be held over your stomach.
- Advance: 8 x 50 metres for all four strokes — free, back, breast and butterfly. You can do it with or without a kickboard by holding your hands in a streamline. Add speedo flippers to your workout to improve strength, speed and flexibility
Freestyle intervals: This is a great way to achieve a low- impact workout. Instead of swimming continuous laps that can tire you, try taking intervals between them.
How to do it: Start with a smaller distance, then progress to repeats of 100 meters. Always use a sportswatch or timer to keep track and hydrate well.
- Beginner’s level: 8 x 25 metres for two minutes. Focus on side breathing and keeping your arm action smooth, slow and continuous (don’t fight with the water!)
- Intermediate: 8 x 25 metres for 3-4 minutes. Focus on a fast kick, and regular breathing pattern (once every 4 strokes is recommended)
- Advance: 8 x 100 metres for 3 minutes. Count the number of strokes, so you can keep them constant. Keep increasing the repetitions or decreasing the rest intervals as you get fitter. The same can be done with backstroke or breaststroke.
Leg lifts: Leg lifts are a great way to make leg movements against the resistance of water, as it works out the leg muscles which helps tone them and strengthens the core
How to do it: Stand in the pool and lift one leg out to the side and back down. Repeat until the leg feels tired, then switch and perform the exercise on the other leg
Water walking: Brisk walking in water is not as easy as walking on dry land. It involves a lot more energy and efforts, as water involves a certain resistance to body movement
How to do it: Stand in chest-level water, and face the other end of the pool. Walk with a steady pace to the far end and continue to take laps back and forth while maintaining a brisk speed.
The author is an Olympian and Speedo brand advocate