There are so many good reasons to own a pool, but one that’s often overlooked is this: exercise.

Aqua-fitness has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years, moving beyond the old water aerobics class at the Y. A new breed of exercises makes full use of water resistance to give you a great cardio workout, burn calories and keep cool, without putting stress on your joints. And best of all, you don’t need to own an Olympic-size pool to enjoy the benefits of exercise in the water.

Before you jump in:

You may want water shoes for better traction.

Work out in waist- or chest-high water.

In deeper water, use a pool noodle to help with flotation.

Always hydrate. Even though you’re in the water, you’re still losing fluids.

Start with a two-minute warmup of gentle swimming or treading water.

See your doctor before starting this or any exercise program.

A few exercises to try in your pool:

Water walk or jog: Great for a single-depth pool. Start with forward and backward walking in chest- or waist-high water. Walk about 10-20 steps forward, then walk backward. Increase speed to make it more difficult.

One-leg balance: Stand on one leg while raising the other knee to hip level. Place a pool noodle under the raised leg, so the noodle forms a U, with your foot in the center of the U. Hold as long as you can up to 30 seconds and switch legs. Try one to two sets of five on each leg.

Power pop-up: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Lower into a squat, keeping knees behind toes. Then jump, raising arms overhead and lifting feet off pool floor. Land softly in squat position, knees bent. Continue for one minute.

Lateral raises: Stand in shoulder-deep water with arms hanging straight down against your sides. Slowly extend both arms straight out to the sides all the way up to the water level. Pause briefly and repeat.

Sidestepping: Face the pool wall. Take sideways steps, with your body and toes facing the wall. Take 10-20 steps in one direction, then return. Repeat twice in each direction.

Pool planks: Hold the noodle in front of you. Lean forward into a plank position. The noodle will be submerged under the water, and your elbows should be straight downward toward the pool floor. Your feet should still be on the pool floor. Hold as long as comfortable, 15-60 seconds depending on your core strength. Repeat three to five times.

Deep-water bicycle: In deeper water, loop one or two noodles around the back of your body and rest your arms on top of the noodle(s) for support in the water. Move your legs as if you are riding a bicycle. Continue for three to five minutes.

Water Roman chair: In deep water, float either on a tube or two kickboards (resting under your arms). Place your feet together and bend your knees up to at least waist level, pause briefly and return. Repeat eight to 10 times.

Sources:

Move Forward PT: Ten Exercises To Do in a Pool
Swimmingpool.com: Water Aerobics