Water is a wonderful medium in which to exercise for fitness gains, weight loss, injury prevention and rehab. The buoyancy of water makes for a low-impact, non-weight-bearing exercise that is easier on joints than running or jumping activities. Water's resistance challenges the body, increasing muscle tone as well as the heart rate for a good cardiovascular workout. The pool is the ideal place to do aerobic and strengthening exercises due to its larger size and depth. However, some stretching and toning exercises can also be executed in a hot tub.
Walk Every Way
Walking in the pool will raise the heart rate for cardiovascular benefits. It also strengthens arm and leg muscles as you push and pull against the water with each step. Aim to walk for 10 to 15 minutes, breaking it up into five-minute segments if needed between toning exercises. Walk in different directions -- forward, side to side and backward -- to target the hip flexors, hip abductors and hamstrings, respectively.
Hip Hip Hooray
Strong hip muscles will improve your balance, decrease risk of injury to the knees and back, and make you look good in your skinny jeans. Strengthen the hips in the pool or hot tub by standing up tall, holding on to the wall for light support. Slowly move your left leg out to the side 10 times, pushing against the water on the way out and in to tone the inner and outer abductor and adductor muscles. Then, do 10 repetitions of hip flexion by bending your knee up toward your chest followed by 10 reps of extension by bringing your leg behind your body. Rest before performing a second set. Add extra resistance by putting a float around your ankle.
Jumps and Hops
Increase the intensity of pool and hot tub exercises by jumping or hopping. Stand in chest-deep water and jump forward, landing softly with bent knees before jumping up again backward to return to start. Use a line on the bottom of the pool to ensure you are moving forward and backward efficiently. Jump for 30 seconds before resting, and repeat two more times.
Up in Arms
Tone up arm muscles in both the pool and hot tub with a set of float dumbbell weights. Hold one weight in each hand while standing in chest-deep water. Target biceps and triceps with curls. Start with your arms straight down by your sides; bend at the elbows to bring the weight up to your shoulders and then push back down against the water to straighten arms. Repeat 10 times or until fatigued for a total of three sets. Train the shoulders by lifting arms straight out to the sides at shoulder-height; push down to bring weights to your sides. Repeat 10 to 15 times for three sets.