Using the Pool for Exercise during the Summer
Are you wondering how you can use the pool for exercise this summer? One of the benefits of living in AZ in the summer, other than sweating off ten pounds of water weight, is our access to swimming pools and other forms of water activity to keep ourselves cool and active. It allows us to be able to keep an active lifestyle while not being confined to the indoors. There are many benefits to using water for strength, cardio, and flexibility. However, like any other form of exercise, you need to make sure you approach it properly (and under the guidance of a therapist or doctor, if needed).
Prior to any form of prolonged exercise, it is important to prevent injury by warming up the muscles, increasing your heart rate and preparing for your workout. Just warming up the arms is not enough to prepare yourself for swimming.
Warm-Up Routine for a Pool Workout
- Standing lunges
- Lunge forward with one leg and reach the arm on the side of the back leg straight overhead and slightly backward.
- Repeat 4-6 on each side.
- Standing T’s
- Standing in a split stance (step one leg forward about two feet) raise arms out to their sides, parallel to the ground, turn thumbs toward the back, and engage (squeeze) the shoulder blades in toward the spine and slightly downward.
- Hold for two seconds, then release and repeat 6-10 times.
- Arm Circles
- While standing with your feet shoulder width apart, reach your arms out to the side in a T.
- Begin doing small circles with your arms and slowly make the diameter of the circles larger.
- Perform for about 30 seconds, repeat 3-5 times.
Tips for A Pool Workout
Treat a swimming workout the same way you would treat any other workout in summer. Here are some additional things to remember to ensure a good workout:
- Time of day
- Plan your exercise around a cooler part of the summer day.
- Early morning or late evening is the best time to exercise outside.
- Drink plenty of water prior to your workout (Link to hydration blog).
- Yes, you can still sweat while working out in a pool. Increased activity causes our bodies to sweat, trying to cool the body back down.
- Listen to your body
- The buoyancy of the water helps to take some pressure off of our joints during exercise but it is still possible to experience pain with certain movements in the water.
- If you experience pain during your workout, your body is trying to tell you something – stop, and seek attention from a medical professional.
- Know your limits
- Swimming with your kids and swimming for exercise are two completely different activities. We may think we have more endurance in the pool than we really do.
- Pace yourself and take any needed rest breaks to prevent overuse injuries, cramps or other unexpected outcomes.
- Make sure that you are comfortable with your surroundings and don’t overdo it. If you have concerns, talk with your physical therapist or the manager of the pool.
Cool-Down Routine for a Pool Workout
A cool down period is also important following a session in the pool. The water in pools during the summer is usually warmer than normal. Following a good workout, our body temperatures are also warmer. Use this time to make sure that you slow your heart rate and stretch some of the major muscle groups.
- Stretch out the back of the shoulders by reaching one arm across your body, keeping it straight and applying some overpressure with the other arm.
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other arm.
- Repeat 3-5 times
- Stretch out the hamstrings by laying on your back, lifting your leg to 90 degrees of flexion at the hip and trying to extend the foot straight up to the sky.
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
- Repeat 3-5 times
- Stretch out your abs and low back by lying on your stomach with your arms tucked under your upper body.
- Lift up onto your arms by extending the head and shoulders upward. If you need more of a stretch, you can push up onto your extended arms.
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.
The summer heat should not prevent you from enjoying outdoor activities. Just remember to be smart, and take extra care. Follow these steps, and if you have further questions, contact AZOPT today. Lastly, make sure that the workout you are doing is enjoyable and motivates you return!
AZOPT provides physical and aquatic therapy to both children and adults in the Phoenix area. Learn more about our Aquatic Therapy here.