In my last column I talked about vertical exercises in the pool, how beneficial it is and tips to get started in pool exercises. Maybe some of you are enjoying your pool exercises now and you want to learn more specific exercises to do while in the water.\
Over the years as a fitness trainer, I’ve seen the benefits of water exercise. Moving in the water is so beneficial that even physical therapists worldwide use water for doctor ordered aquatic therapy. Many physical therapist study for an aquatic specialty certification from Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute. Many fitness trainers study for water exercise specific certifications from Aquatic Exercise Association to qualify us to teach water exercise and understand how to use the water with correct movements.
Here’s a few water movement ideas from the American Physical Therapy Association:
Water walking or jogging. I like this movement. It’s very basic and not only a great starter exercise for water newbies but also for seasoned water exercisers. I often do water walking movements after I swim laps. Try to be chest deep in water so your upper body can benefit from the movement. You can walk sideways, forwards and backwards. Be sure to use your arms while moving. Make a breaststroke arm movement going forward (you can even raise your knees up and make marching steps and even lunge forward), make a backstroke arm movement going backward, and raise and lower arms at the side while walking sideways.
One leg balance. This is a good balance exercise to do in the water. Stand on one leg while raising the other knee to hip level. Place a foam pool noodle under the raised leg so the noodle makes a “U” with your foot in the center of the U. Hold as long as you can or up to 30 seconds then switch legs.
Pool planks. Hold the pool noodle in front of you and lean forward into a plank position (straight body position like a board). The noodle should be under water and your elbows should be pointed down to the pool floor with your feet on the pool floor. Hold as long as comfortable up to 60 seconds depending on your core strength.
Deep water bicycling. In deeper water, place one or two pool noodles around your back and under your arms for support. Move your legs like you’re riding a bicycle. This is a favorite exercise for many people because it helps to stretch out the leg and back muscles.
Push-ups. Most people like to do push-outs in the water because it’s easier. Stand up straight by the wall a few feet away and holding the wall with both hands lean into the wall then push out. If you’re able, you can do a push-up at the wall and raise your body half way out of the water, hold for 3 seconds, then lower your body. That requires healthy and strong shoulder joints though.
It only takes water, a pool noodle and your willingness to do these movements. Go ahead and try them. Here’s to your great health.
Jonathan Souder is the Fitness Director at Manor House, an Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, Delaware. This column appeared in the August 31, 2017 edition of the Seaford Star.