Want a cool place to work out in the heat? How about the pool?

In need of a refreshing cooldown? Try chilling out in a cool pool. • During the hot and humid Florida summer months, splashing around in the water can be quite invigorating. And healing, too, as water can provide a low-impact environment, which is very beneficial for people dealing with arthritis, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure and knee, hip or back issues.

Water-based exercise is an excellent way to remain cool, reduce stress levels, have fun, get fit and derive multihealth benefits all at the same time. It can be a super risk-free exercise gym!

With water providing the buoyancy needed to support the body, it will offer protection from high impact, reducing stress on joints and bones, a big plus for those who cannot exercise comfortably on land. And water is not only for those dealing with limitations; the intensity in which you work can be dictated by your physical abilities.

Swimming, one of our country's most popular sports activities, is a great way to get your aerobic fix and build up your cardio endurance. But you do not have to be an avid swimmer to gain the physical and mental health benefits; nonswimmers can safely participate in water aerobics by standing in chest-high water or by wearing a flotation belt if working in deeper water.

If you work in chest-deep water, 85 percent of your body will be supported; in neck-deep water, 90 percent will be.

Thanks to the density of the water, it offers resistance from all directions, which helps develop toned muscles. And because the effects of gravity are reduced, you can easily move your joints through a wider range of pain-free motion, increasing flexibility.

Many of today's trendy exercises have been adapted for the pool: Zumba, yoga, pilates, tai chi and kickboxing.

When finished with your workout, it is delightful to just spend a few moments floating aimlessly on a raft. It's worth taking the plunge!

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 slafit@tampabay.rr.com.

Water wellness

Water jogging: This increases cardiovascular fitness while strengthening thighs and gluteals. Keep your head up and shoulders back and use the normal jogging arm movements you would on land. Begin slowly, aiming toward a moderate pace for two minutes, followed by a faster pace for another two minutes. Continue alternating moderate- and fast-paced intervals.

Toning arms: Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, extend arms straight out in front of you, holding a ball. Pushing a ball under water, create a figure-eight pattern with your arms.

Jumping moguls: This cardio exercise strengthens the whole body. Standing with feet together, bring knees toward chest and jump side to side, using hands to push water to the opposite side.

The dancer: Have fun with your favorite dance moves.

PHOTO SHOOT

INSTRUCTOR Ray Vickery VINOY POOL

Noodles are made from lightweight buoyant polyethylene foam that provide balance in the water and add resistance for core and upper, lower body workouts. They also can be used for stretching.

Picture 1 Cross Country Skiing: a cardio exercise that works both upper and lower body muscles. Place one foot slightly in front of other foot, knees relaxed. If left foot is in front, extend right arm to the front. Continue to jump and alternate legs with opposite straight arms. You may also perform cross country skiing without jumping, by taking large steps moving forward. Try alternating two minute intervals as in the water jogging exercise.

Picture 2 Pendulum Swing Keeping hips level and both knees and feet facing forward, swing legs side to side (hopping on one foot while lifting other leg to the side). Arms swing in opposite direction.

Picture 3 Ab Exercise with Noodle: Wrap noodle around your back, resting arms on the sides. Leaning back, extend legs straight out in front of you with with toes pointed and abdominals contracted. Bend knees, bringing them into your chest, then extend legs straight out.

Picture 4 Wall Push-Ups: strengthens chest, arms and shoulders Standing several feet from pool wall, place palms against the wall, slightly wider than shoulders; fingers pointing upward. Contracting abdominals will help stabilize upper body. As elbows bend, lean against the wall without arching the back, then push off until arms are fairly straight, elbows slightly bent. Inhale as you lean inward and exhale when you push back from the wall.

"Noodles," made from lightweight buoyant polyethylene foam, provide balance in the water and add resistance for core and upper and lower body workouts. They also can be used for stretching.

Cross country skiing

This is a cardio exercise that works both upper and lower body muscles. Place one foot slightly in front of other foot, knees relaxed. If left foot is in front, extend right arm to the front. Continue to jump and alternate legs with opposite straight arms. You may also perform cross country skiing without jumping, by taking large steps moving forward. Try alternating two-minute intervals as in the water jogging exercise.

Pendulum swing

Keeping hips level and both knees and feet facing forward, swing legs side to side (hopping on one foot while lifting other leg to the side). Arms swing in opposite direction.

Ab exercise with noodle

Wrap noodle around your back, resting arms on the sides. Leaning back, extend legs straight out in front of you with toes pointed and abdominals contracted. Bend knees, bringing them into your chest, then extend legs straight out.

Wall pushups

This strengthens chest, arms and shoulders. Standing several feet from pool wall, place palms against the wall, slightly wider than shoulders, and point fingers upward. Contracting abdominals will help stabilize upper body. As elbows bend, lean against the wall without arching the back, then push off until arms are fairly straight, elbows slightly bent. Inhale as you lean inward and exhale when you push back from the wall.

Tips

• You can become just as dehydrated in water as you can on land, so be sure to drink water during and after your workout.

• Wearing water shoes will improve your footing and protect your feet.

• Music can add to the workout by helping to keep you motivated.

• Always warm up for eight to 10 minutes before beginning the exercises and end 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 correct posture for performing the exercises and will also help to stabilize your balance.

• Depending on your fitness level, you may exercise as slow or as fast as you desire.

• Use the "talk test." If you can't talk, you are working too hard and need to slow down.

• Adding noodles, webbed gloves, fins and paddles will increase the intensity of the workout.

• Changing exercise movements frequently also will increase the intensity.

Want a cool place to work out in the heat? How about the pool? 07/24/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 6:54pm]

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