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4 Water Workout Exercises for Cardio and Tone

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4 Water Workout Exercises for Cardio and Tone
A group of seniors in a water class. Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

Inspired by the Olympics I decided to re-think my attitude about working out in the water. I'm not talking about swimming laps which is undeniably a great workout -- just look at those amazing bodies! I am referring to what we USED to call something like Aqua-robics. Now if you're like me you just pictured a pool filled with bouncing bathing caps (floral detailing, perhaps?) and a bunch of underwater movement that doesn't look like much of anything. I remember walking by the pool in a health club where I once worked and thinking that it looked easy. But the truth is that water can provide safe but tough resistance and the key is repeating the movement and adding (or trying to add!) speed.

Try these four exercises:

1. Speed kicking. Holding the edge of the pool with your hands allow your legs to simply float up behind you so your your body is parallel with the surface of the water but submerged from your upper back down. With an alternating leg kick simply kick as fast as you can for one solid minute. Sounds easy. Try it. As fast as you can for one minute. Break. Repeat two more times. Try to keep most of your legs submerged so that there is only a little splash but a lot of movement.

2. Pool boxing. In the shallow end of the pool stand in water that's as deep as the top of your shoulders. Stand with your right foot forward and your left foot back -- separated about 2 feet. Begin to switch jump the feet quickly, right-left-right-left. With your ams up in a "boxer guard" position -- but underwater -- add an opposition punch. (So if your right foot is forward, you are punching left) and repeat the alternating arms and legs as fast as you safely can for one minute. Tip: Try alternating between exercise #1 and #2 for a strong series of 3 each.

3. Lateral Shuffles. Starting at one end of the shallow side of the pool and standing in waist to mid-chest height water -- move sideways across the pool to touch the other other end. Try 10 lateral laps across the pool. Remember to keep the hips, knees and ankles slightly bent and to draw the feet together at the center of each lateral stride. Rest and repeat two more times.

4. Water Wings. Once more we are in shoulder height water. With your arms starting along side your body and your palms facing up raise your arms laterally to the surface of the water. Flip the hands so the palms face down and quickly press down to sides of your body. Palms up on the way up -- palms down on the way down. Repeat that up-down movement 20 times. Tip: Try alternating between exercise "3 and #4 for a strong series of 3 each.

This workout is as tough as you make it -- and no bathing cap is required!

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