It’s never too late to add an aquatic exercise routine to your weekly schedule. The benefits of aquatic exercise should not be dismissed. Making an effort to find time is the first step. The second step is twofold. First, check out the gear and determine if you want to make the investment. Second, familiarize yourself with the different options and possibly watch Internet videos. The final step is the most daunting. Mustering up the courage to take the plunge or enrolling in an aquatic class.

Equipment Options

  • One-piece comfortable swimsuit - Some bathing suits are made for lounging while others are designed for activity.
  • Goggles - If your activity requires putting your face in the water or you don’t like your eyes being splashed with water, goggles are recommended.
  • Bathing cap - Chlorine and salt water can be tough on the hair. A cap will not stop water penetration, but limits exposure. It also keeps your hair out of your face.
  • Waterproof container for your Ipod or MP3 player - Music can enhance your exercise experience and relieve the monotony. This is a substantial investment so consider your budget.
  • Aquatic belt - This floatation device will increase your buoyancy. If you don’t know how to swim or are just starting an aquatic program, this piece of equipment is essential.
  • Hand webs
  • Micro fins
  • Styrofoam dumb bells
  • Hydro Fit cuffs
  • Kickboard
  • Aquatic shoes
  • Styrofoam noodle
  • Bag for equipment

Beginning Level- Never Ever

  • Walking - In chest deep water, walk back and forth across the pool. Mix it up by walking forward, backward, side-to-side, and crossing one leg over the other.
  • Exercising with equipment - To increase the friction in the water, consider using hand webs, Styrofoam dumb bells, aquatic shoes, or Hydro Fit cuffs connected to your wrists and/or ankles. To improve stability in deep water, use a Styrofoam noodle. If you have limited swimming abilities, a flotation belt or vest is a necessity.
  • Jumping jacks - Begin with feet flat on the pool floor and arms at your side. Bend your knees and jump. As you jump, kick your legs out to the sides while your hands swing up above the water level. When you land your knees will remain slightly bent and your feet will be apart. Jump up again and return to the starting position.
  • Strides in deeper water - This is more challenging than it appears. A Styrofoam noodle can be placed between your legs to help with stability. It should be higher in the back than the front. An aquatic belt is a necessity for novice swimmers. Move arms and legs in tandem. When the right arm is extended the left leg will move forward. The slight movements will mimic walking while more pronounced movements will resemble jogging. Keep your back straight and tighten your abdominal muscles. Remain centered. Do not lean to one side.
  • Treading water - If moving across the length of the pool is a tedious process, consider treading water.

Beginning Level- With Equipment

  • Crunches with arm movement - This can be done with or without a flotation belt, Hydro Fit cuffs, and Styrofoam bar bells. Beginners should begin in chest deep water and progress to deep water. In a vertical position with arms at side, draw knees to you chest while simultaneously raising your arms to your side. Hold for a second and then return to the starting position. Knees can also be drawn up on an angle to one side and then the other.
  • Arm exercises - Standard free weight exercises such as bicep curls, shoulder presses, side raises, and tricep pushdowns can be adapted to a pool environment. At first, stand in chest deep water and then progress to treading water in deeper water.

Your comfort and fitness level will determine the appropriate number of repetitions, sets, and whether the exercises can be performed while standing or treading water.

Measuring Progress

  • Time - Start out with a minimum of 15 minutes. Increase the time in the water each week until you reach your goal. Ideally, work toward being in the water for 60 minutes at least 2 to 3 times a week. Keep in mind that less time spent exercising is still better than none.

Maintaining Motivation

If your new aquatic exercise routine is not enjoyable, it will be nearly impossible to remain motivated. Using these helpful hints, create a plan that is both challenging and diverse. Future blogs will provide additional exercises and resources for first-timers as well as more advanced exercises.

Don’t be shy. If something is not clear, don’t hesitate to send a question.

Sandra Bornstein, an international educator and writer, has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses at the University of Colorado and Front Range Community College. Sandra holds two masters’ degrees- one in Education from the University of Colorado and another in Jewish Studies from Spertus College.In 2010, her husband’s international job created a unique opportunity to live abroad. In India, she fulfilled three passions – a desire to travel, a zeal for writing, and a love of teaching. Sandra’s Indian adventure became the backdrop for her award-winning book, May This Be The Best Year Of Your Life: A Memoir.
Check out her website and author Facebook page.