During the Summer months it can be difficult to get outside and exercise because of the heat. Today we want to share with you TEN Exercises that you can do in the pool! Swimming is an excellent source of exercise, one that provides many benefits, including the perfect environment for year long exercise. Due to the buoyancy of the water, it supports a portion of your body weight which eases movement in the water and improves your flexibility. Other benefits include, muscle strengthening, agility and balance improvement, and cardiovascular fitness. People suffering from conditions such as, fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic back pain, and joint replacements, just to name a few, report seeing benefits from pool exercises. Another positive benefit of pool exercises is the reduced risk of falls compared to exercises done on land.

As with any exercise program, before you begin it is important to to check with your physician or physical therapist to make sure that the program is right for you. It is also important to be prepared for the exercise program. Here are a few tips from Move Forward PT to help you prepare for the pool:
Water shoes will help to provide traction on the pool floor.
Water level can be waist or chest high.
Use a Styrofoam noodle or floatation belt/vest to keep you afloat in deeper water.
Slower movements in the water will provide less resistance than faster movements.
You can use webbed water gloves, Styrofoam weights, inflated balls, or kickboards for increased resistance.
Never push your body through pain during any exercise.
Although you will not notice that you sweat with pool exercises, it is still important to drink plenty of water.
Now that you’ve been cleared by your physician or physical therapist and have prepared for your pool exercise program, here are the TEN Excellent Exercises you can do in the pool:
1. Water walking or jogging: Start with forward and backward walking in chest or waist high water. Walk about 10-20 steps forward, and then walk backward. Increase speed to make it more difficult. Also, increase intensity by jogging gently in place. Alternate jogging for 30 seconds with walking in place for 30 seconds. Continue for 5 minutes.
2. Forward and side lunges: Standing near a pool wall for support, if necessary, take an oversized lunge step in a forward direction. Do not let the forward knee advance past the toes. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. For a side lunge, face the pool wall and take an oversized step to the side. Keep toes facing forward. Repeat on the other side. Try 3 sets of 10 lunge steps. For variation, lunge walk in a forward or sideways direction instead of staying in place.
3. One leg balance: Stand on 1 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 1-2 sets of 5 on each leg.
4. Sidestepping Face the pool wall. Take sideways steps with your body and toes facing the wall. Take 10-20 steps in 1 direction and then return. Repeat twice in each direction.
5. Hip kickers at pool wall: Stand with the pool wall to one side of your body for support. Move 1 leg in a forward direction with the knee straight, like you are kicking. Return to start. Then move the same leg to the side, and return to the start position. Lastly, move that same leg behind you. Repeat 3 sets of 10 and switch the kicking leg.
6. 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 3-5 times.
7. Deep water bicycle: In deeper water, loop 1-2 noodles around the back of your body and rest your arms on top of the noodle for support in the water. Move your legs as if you are riding a bicycle. Continue for 3-5 minutes.
8. Arm raises: Using arm paddles or webbed gloves for added resistance, hold arms at your sides. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Raise and lower elbows and arms toward the water surface, while the elbows remain bent to 90 degrees. Repeat for 3 sets of 10.
9. Push ups: While standing in the pool by the pool side, place arms shoulder width apart on pool edge. Press weight through your hands and raise your body up and half way out of the water, keeping elbows slightly bent. Hold 3 seconds and slowly lower back into pool. (Easier variation: Wall push up on side of pool: place hands on edge of pool shoulder width apart, bend elbows, and lean chest toward the pool wall.)
10. Standing knee lift: Stand against the pool wall with both feet on the floor. Lift 1 knee up like you are marching in place. While the knee is lifted even with your hip, straighten your knee. Continue to bend and straighten your knee 10 times, and then repeat on the other leg. Complete 3 sets of 10 on each leg. For more of a challenge, try this exercise without standing against the pool wall.
To learn more about Aquatic Physical Therapy visit: http://www.moveforwardpt.com/PatientResources/VideoLibrary/detail/aquatic-physical-therapy
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