Swimming is great exercise on its own, but there are plenty of other ways to use your pool to tone up.
Grab a noodle
Pool noodles are inexpensive and chances are you already own one, especially if you have kids. Self magazine has some great tips on how best to use this toy to whip yourself into shape. Float in the deep end of the pool and wrap the noodle around your back. Point your toes toward the bottom of the pool, straighten your legs toward the bottom then pull your knees back up toward your chest and hold for two seconds before repeating 20 times. This exercise will work your abs, hips and legs.
A runner's work out in the water
Running and swimming can both provide a full body workout, but swimming can do it without taking a toll on your joints. Runner's World recommends that people who haven't gone swimming in a while alternate strokes while swimming laps so as not to exhaust themselves. The magazine recommends that regular runners start out with ten laps, which is equivalent to about a quarter of a mile.
Another great exercise is to actually run in the water. Lean forward as you run and alternate between regular paces and highs knees. If you're unsure of how long to do this, as it's unlikely you'll have much forward movement to measure your workout by, take the time it takes you to do one of your normal runs and try to run in the water for the same amount of time.
The water weight loss solution
If you're looking to drop a few pounds and tone up, the pool is the perfect place for it. Every move you make is met with resistance, maximizing the impact of your workout. According to Women's Health magazine, swimmers, no matter what their age, have lower body fat as well as slimmer waists and hips. It's important to know your limits when tackling a new workout routine, especially something as seemingly simple yet incredibly effective as swimming. Pace yourself and take breaks every few laps if you need to.
Women's Health magazine quoted the director of the Councilman Center for the Science of Swimming at Indiana University at Bloomington Joel Stager, Ph.D. who said those who swim recreationally to stay in shape are younger inside than those who do not.
"Our research shows that habitual swimmers are biologically up to 20 years younger than their actual age," he said.
Whether your goal is to improve your health or to look like you're hewn from a piece of wood, a pool you will give you everything you need to achieve your goals.