With the summer sun blaring, many of us head off to the pool in order to find some relief.  Because of this same heat, some of us find that our normal outdoor exercise routines have had to be shelved until the temperatures drop to a more comfortable level. Why not rethink your summer exercise routine and marry your time of watery refreshment with a time of physical fitness?

The pool water offers many exercise perks. First, for those who struggle with aching joints, the coolness of the water and its ability to lighten the body’s weight/load make it an ideal environment to work out in. Second the weight of the water offers a natural source of resistance to exercise against. And finally, we can stay cool—even on the hottest of days—while we fire up our muscles and get our hearts pumping.

Here are a few specific exercise ideas (beyond swimming, of course) to get you started. Just grab a bathing suit and two dessert-sized acrylic plates for “paddles” and jump in!

Pushing the Plates:
With the water at shoulder height and a plate held in each hand (palms up), begin with arms at your side. Bend your elbows and push those plates up through the water. Then reverse the action, turning your palms down, and push the plates back down to your sides.

Gather and Scatter:
Up to your neck in watery goodness, plates in hand, begin with arms spread wide in an “I love you this much!” position. With thumbs facing upwards, pull both arms forward just beneath the water’s surface as if you were gathering up a pile of water. Reverse by turning hands over (thumbs down now) and push back against the water, “scattering it” behind you.

Jumping for Joy:
Waist or chest high in water, bend knees and push off the floor of the pool to propel your body upward, repeat until heart rate rises comfortably (slightly-moderately breathless).

Run for Your Life! (…seriously)
Submerged waist high, make a “mad dash” across the shallow end of the pool and back a time or two.


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