You've heard it time and again: water exercise is a great way to build fitness, flexibility and strength without straining your joints. But, let's face it, some of us feel a little self-conscious about working out in a pool.
Kay Smiley, aquatics specialist for YMCA of the USA, suggests these easy pool exercises to burn calories, improve balance and tone your body without drawing a lot of attention to yourself:
Exercise 1: Pool Walk
• Walk heel-to-toe across the pool, swinging opposite arm and leg (as you swing your right arm forward, step forward on your left leg).
• When you reach the opposite side, walk backward, using toe-to-heel steps. (Or just walk the return lap facing forward.)
• Option: March across the pool, lifting your knees with each step.
Exercise 2: Scissor Arms
• Cross your arms in front of your body at hip level.
• Move each arm behind your back, one at a time, and recross them.
• Return arms to front, one at a time, and recross.
• Repeat, alternating left arm over right, then right arm over left.
• Option: Wear webbed gloves, designed to add resistance and help with balance.
Exercise 3: Side Stretches
• Hands on hips, bend slowly to one side.
• Return slowly to standing position.
• Repeat on opposite side.
• Option: Stretch arms out to your sides before bending.
• Remember to exercise in shallow water if you're not a swimmer. Always swim when a lifeguard is present.
For in-depth ideas about water workouts, including more exercises, go here.
© 2009 National Women's Health Resource Center, Inc. (NWHRC) All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from the NWHRC. 1-877-986-9472 (tollfree). On the Web at: www.healthywomen.org.