A UVA Heart & Vascular Center Initiative

Hit the Pool for the Perfect Summer Workout

Posted May 31, 2017

Working out in the pool is fun, easy and effective. Try these five exercises in the pool’s shallow end to improve heart health and strengthen muscles. Of course, you should always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

1. Fly-back cardio challenge. Straddle a noodle, sit up tall and move around the pool as if you were riding a horse using your legs to propel you. Reach your arms straight out in front of you, keeping them at chest height. Touch palms together with fingers extended and thumbs facing up. Bring arms straight out to sides through the water, then return to starting position. Work up to 3 minutes to strengthen core, arms, chest and back while working your heart.

2. Jog in place. Keep knees high as you alternate feet in waist-high water. Jogging at a high intensity in the water can burn 17 calories a minute. Jog for 1 to 3 minute intervals and alternate less cardio-intense exercises in between for a full-body workout.

3. One leg balance. Stand in waist-high water and lift one knee up, placing a noodle under your raised foot. Keep your hands by your side and balance on one leg with your foot on the middle of the noodle. Aim for one minute on each side. For an added challenge, lift your arms above your head as you balance.

4. Bicycle pedals and crunches. Hold on to the side of the pool with your arms outstretched and your back to the edge. Pedal your legs as if you were riding a bicycle, dragging them through the water. Switch to crunches by extending legs straight out in front of you and then pulling both knees up into your chest. Do each exercise for 1 to 3 minutes.

5. Squat jump. Extend your arms sideways at shoulder height and squat down, as if you are sitting on a chair. Jump up as high as you can as you extend your arms over your head. Repeat for 1 minute.

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