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Get Wet With These Pool-Based Workouts

Get Wet With These Pool-Based Workouts

Water Sports!

"If you hate sweating while doing cardio, aqua jogging is perfect because you won't even notice how much you're sweating—you're already in water."

In these burning summer months, nothing salves like a dip in the pool. But next time you're about to retire with a frozen daiquiri to a giant floating flamingo, take a look around and realize you're in a chlorine-filled gym.

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If you find "aquarobics" springing to mind, or visions of lavender bathing caps with garish flowers, you're not alone. Fitness entrepreneur Zackary Schares says, "So many people think doing workouts in the water is something your grandma would do -- then you try it and realize that it's actually difficult and can provide a full-body workout."

According to the Aquatic Exercise Association, water is low impact (therefore better on your knees and joints) and offers 12 times the resistance of air. Just treading water burns 400 to 500 calories per hour. And if you're not the best swimmer, you can do most workouts without even submerging your head.

Schares adds that water-based workouts, much like Speedos, are more popular among men in Europe, but a variety of them are offered in U.S. clubs like YMCA and Equinox. Classes like aqua-biking, water yoga, and aqua treadmill require special equipment, but if you're at the beach or at the hotel pool, with nothing more than all that sparkling blue, you can still get in a great workout.

"Aqua jogging is the best way to introduce yourself to water workouts," says out Tongan Olympic swimmer Amini Fonua. "Enter the water and stand upright. Then start jogging as you normally would on land, kicking your knees as high as possible. For a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout, try to sprint for 20 seconds, followed by 40 seconds of jogging."

You can buy a water belt and kickpad for added resistance, though some pools have them in stock, so call ahead if you have the time. "Also, if you hate sweating while doing cardio," Fonua adds, "aqua jogging is perfect because you won't even notice how much you're sweating -- you're already in water."

Perhaps those grandmas are onto something. So take a plunge on the shallow side and try this warm-up. Fonua likes to do it with new clients to make sure their lungs get used to swim breathing, which is different than land breathing.

"After inhaling through the mouth for two seconds, hold onto the swimming pool wall with one or two hands, then insert your head into the water and exhale for two seconds," Fonua says. "As you raise your head to inhale for two seconds, your hips will start to sink in the water. To combat this, engage your legs even more to keep your body position correct. This is tough work and if you feel the burn in your legs and lungs, you're doing it correctly."

Fonua continues, "Once you practice a few rounds of having your head up for two seconds, and then head down for two seconds, try adding in some arm strokes. Experiment with rolling your head to the side to breathe when you feel more confident, and don't be afraid to fall and fail."

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