Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Everybody into the pool for low-impact but intense exercise

Exercise without breaking a sweat? Head for the pool, which is never more inviting than now, in the midst of summer. Even if you're not much of a swimmer, a cool pool allows you to exercise without ever breaking a sweat and in a gentle way. "The viscosity and weight of the water provide an impact-free way to intensify your workout for big benefits," says aquatic exercise researcher Mary Sanders, an adjunct professor of exercise science at the University of Nevada at Reno. The added resistance of the water and the reduced impact make water exercise extremely beneficial for people dealing with arthritis, joint problems and back pain.

The water's density offers resistance in all directions, which helps to develop toned muscles. And with less gravity you can easily move your joints through a wider range of motion, increasing flexibility.

Just about any exercise you do on land can be done in the pool. Jumping jacks, normally a high-impact exercise that can be hard on sensitive knees and hips, becomes a comfortable low-impact cardio exercise in the water. If you want a little variety, you can mix up your workouts by alternating working in chest-deep or deep water; if working in deep water, it is generally recommended to use a flotation belt.


Warm up in the pool before you begin exercising with a little jogging in place and wide sweeping motions of the arms; cool down when finished, with stretching.

When walking or jogging, always make sure your heels make contact with the floor of the pool.

Contracting abdominals will help to give you the correct posture for performing the exercises.

Drink water before and after your workout. Even in the pool, dehydration is possible.


Jumping moguls: Strengthens the whole body. Standing with feet together, bring knees toward chest and jump side to side; using your hands, push water to the opposite side.

Cross-country skiing: Works muscles in the upper and lower body. With left leg forward, extend right arm. Jump and alternate legs with straight arms. Continue alternating arms and legs.

Tennis, baseball and golf swings: Strengthens obliques (sides of abdomen), lower back, arms and shoulders. Holding both hands together, practice (underwater) the stroke or the swing, using the correct form. To make it harder, wear water gloves.

Toe-heel walks: A good balance exercise. Contract abdominals and stand tall. Walk an imaginary line, placing one foot in front of the other, balancing with arms extended to sides. Try walking backward.

The dancer: Have fun with some of your favorite dance moves, adding a little grace while toning muscles of your entire body.

If you are 50 or older and have not been exercising, check with your physician before beginning any exercise program. Trainer Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual queries. She can be reached at

Use your noodle for some water exercises demonstrated by Kim Huff, 49, fitness coordinator at Westminster Suncoast retirement community in St. Petersburg. Noodles provide a multipurpose workout tool for water exercises. They are made from lightweight, buoyant polyethylene foam and can be bent for many different movements. They provide balance in the water and offer resistance for upper-, lower- and core body workouts. (Our thanks to the ladies demonstrating the moves: Millicent Webster, Betty Emery, Dot Marshall, Ann Carlson, Beatrice Sinclair.) Sally Anderson

Everybody into the pool for low-impact but intense exercise 07/28/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 12:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.