Everything in the summer is better poolside—even exercise! Aquatic activity can improve flexibility, strength, balance and agility. The benefits can be great for many, including those with arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, joint replacements and other conditions that can make exercising a literal pain. There’s no need to enroll in a water aerobics class—just grab a pool noodle (and maybe even your favorite sister) and find a body of water that is at least waist-high.
With your back to the side of the pool, place your arms on the edge. Stick your legs out straight and kick them over each other, like you would when doing scissor kicks on land. This move works your glutes, legs and abs.
With palms flattened for resistance, bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Flex your wrists toward the water as if you are lifting a small barbell. Repeat for 3 sets of 10. For even more resistance, try placing children’s arm floaties on your wrists or holding two empty gallon jugs with lids. POOL
Place both hands on a pool noodle and hold it in front of you. Keeping your feet on the pool floor, lean forward into a pushup position while applying your weight to the pool noodle and submerging it underwater. Do not bend at the waist when going forward. Your arms should be downward toward the pool floor. Hold for 15-60 seconds, repeat 3-5 times.
Stand perpendicular to the pool wall so you may use it for support as needed. Kick your right leg forward, to the side and behind you. Repeat 30 times. Turn around so that your right side is closer to the pool wall. Kick your left leg forward, to the side and behind you. Repeat 30 times.
DEEP WATER BICYCLE
In deeper water, loop two pool noodles around the back of your body to make a U-shape—your back in the center. Rest your arms on top of the noodles for support. Move your legs as if you are riding a bicycle. Continue for three minutes.
ONE LEG BALANCE
Stand on your right leg and lift your left knee up to hip level. Place a pool noodle in the middle of your left foot so that it forms a U-shape. Keep your hands by your side and balance for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat. For an extra challenge, lift your arms above your head as you balance.
Facing the pool wall, take 20 sidesteps to the right. Then take 20 sidesteps to the left. Repeat twice in each direction.
WATER WALKING OR JOGGING
Start walking slowly from one side of the shallow end to the next. Once you’re warmed up a bit, increase your speed. Alternate jogging and walking for 30 seconds each and continue for five minutes.
This post originally appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of the Quarterly.