When someone mentions pool exercise, many automatically imagine endless hours of swimming laps back and forth. While this is a type of beneficial cardiovascular exercise, it's not the only kind of workout you could do in a pool. Whether you exercise in an instructor-led class or create your own workout routine, you may use water dumbbells, and possibly a flotation belt, for more variety.
Water Takes the Load Off
When you jump in the pool, the water naturally reduces the amount of force placed on your body by around 90 percent. This makes aerobic water exercise a safer alternative to land-based exercises for people with joint conditions, such as arthritis or back problems. If jogging, jumping or dancing is painful on land, working out in the water will give you a comparable aerobic workout without as much joint and bone stress.
More Than Just Dumbbells
Before you even add dumbbells to your water aerobics routine, you will benefit from the water’s natural resistance. The resistance of water is 10 times greater than that of air, which means you work harder to move through it. Simply cupping your hands in the water during upper body exercises increases the resistance even more. By adding water dumbbells to your workout routine, you further increase the resistance, thereby helping to build and strengthen muscle even more.
A Shallow Workout
If you are just starting out with water aerobics and water dumbbells, the shallow end of the pool is the best place to start. Find an area in the pool where you can stand so the water is at upper chest or shoulder level. Hold the dumbbells in your hands, with your arms at your side, and begin walking in the water. As you walk back and forth across the pool, add simple bicep curls, alternating arms with each step. Other upper body dumbbell exercises include flyes, shoulder shrugs and lateral raises.
Take to the Deep End
With the assistance of a float belt around your waist, you can move to the deep end for a full workout. While jogging in place, perform some of the same upper body strength exercises you did in the shallow end of the pool. With the flotation belt secure, perform water angels. Position your body in an upright position with your legs straight and your arms at your side while holding the dumbbells. Raise your arms out to your side until you reach shoulder level, all while extending your legs out to the side, which is similar to the movement used to make snow angels.
- The American Council on Exercise: Make a Splash With Water Fitness
- ConsumerReports.org: Take the Water Challenge
- Hydro-Tone: Hydro-Tone Water Weights Exercises 1-3
- Hydro-Tone: Hydro-Tone Water Weights Exercises 4-6
- Hydro-Tone: Hydro-Tone Water Weights Exercises 7-9
- Power Systems, Inc.: Exercise With Water Dumbbells and Floatation Belt