If you're lucky enough to live in a place that's warm year-round, you don't have to head to the gym this winter! Use your swimming pool as your health and fitness center – here's how.
If you like to jog
Although not even a Nor' Easter seems to stop the most die hard of runners, alternating between hitting the trails and running in the pool can be good for your body. Jogging while submerged in water works your leg muscles without wearing on them like running on pavement can do. While you can certainly run laps in the shallow end, it's common to head to the deep side of the pool for this workout.
According to USA Triathlon, use a running belt and swim into the deep end. Maintain an upright position and move forward gradually. Any time you're jogging in the deep end, you should lean forward slightly, explained the source. This routine can provide you with some much needed cardio and tone your muscles, too.
It's likely, you won't have the same times as you do on land because of the water's resistance. Challenge yourself by running a short distance at a fast pace, explained Abby Ruby, USA Triathlon Certified Coach, to the magazine.
Lifting weights and strength training
Aside from running, many exercises that are performed at the gym can be done in the water, suggested Live Strong. If you wish to work out individual muscles, transfer your typical workout regime to your backyard. Jump in the water and try these exercises:
- Abs: Float on your back and rest your legs on the deck. As you would on a gym mat, squeeze your abdominal muscles to bring you to an upright position and then lay back into the water, suggested Live Strong. Do this 10 to 15 times for better results.
- Triceps and biceps: Tone those arms by doing some dolphin jacks, explained Men's Journal. Use a 10-pound weight if you regularly strength train, otherwise start small. The weights are going to feel heavier under the water. Stand completely submerged – just about up to the neck – and hold the two dumbbells in each hand. One at a time, explode an arm up and through the water, lower the arm back down and try the other side.
- Glutes and quads: Sculpt your legs by doing some standing kickbacks, suggested Women's Fitness. Stand next to the pool's edge and rest your hands on the deck. With knees slightly bent, kick back the left leg and bring it back down. Do this five times and then switch sides.
How long should a pool workout be?
Whether you're doing your cardio or strength training, a workout should last for a minimum of 10 minutes at a time to meet a required amount that your body needs to stay healthy, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In total, you should be working out for 150 minutes weekly. If you want to maximize your benefits, dedicate 5 hours to moderate to intense aerobics and spend 2 days on weight training.