When it's hot outside and sometimes even when it isn't, there's nothing like a refreshing dip in the pool to relax you. However, even just swimming and splashing about for a while can leave your muscles feeling tired and your body exhausted. That's because swimming is an excellent physical activity; that's why you might already incorporate it into your fitness routine. If you don't, though, is it because you think the only thing there is to aquatic fitness is swimming back and forth in the pool? Many people who swim for fitness believe that, too. Of course, there's a reason that most people feel that way about swimming as exercise.

Swimming laps is an excellent way to work out your core muscles, plus your arms and legs, all at once. Fitness experts recommend swimming because of what good exercise it is, but that's not the only way to get fit in the pool. Whether you're bored with your current routine, or you're looking for a fun and exciting way to work out in the water, you don't have to resign yourself to swimming laps.

In fact, there are all kinds of fun and exciting ways to develop your fitness in the pool that doesn't match the traditional mold. Each of these activities has a set of unique benefits, so be sure to mix and match when planning your new routine. Let's go over some of the different things you can do in the water.


Water jogging is more fun than running outdoors



When it comes to an all-around excellent cardiovascular and muscular workout, running is one of the best exercises out there. However, not everyone enjoys running. If you live in a particularly hot climate, it can be a real challenge to motivate yourself to get outdoors and pound the pavement. What if there was another way to run, though, with similar benefits? Water jogging, or water sprinting, are excellent exercises which will surprise you with their intensity. It's as simple as it sounds: running through the water instead of down a track. With the addition of the water pushing back against your body, though, you're going to experience a much different workout.

Begin by entering the pool and wading to a depth where your feet are no longer on the bottom of the pool. To make the entire process easier, consider wearing a flotation belt to stabilize yourself in the water. You are now ready to start your water jogging workout! Now just start running. It works the same way as it does out of the water, except you now have to contend with the resistance offered by the water as well.

Distance doesn't mean the same thing when you're running in water; instead, do your jogging or sprinting in timed sets. The faster you go, the harder your heart will have to work. It doesn't take long to realize just how hard you could work out by running this way. So what are the overall benefits?

Primarily, as with running, water sprints improve your cardiovascular fitness. At the same time, you use your core muscles to stay steady in the water. The running motions you engage in exercise your quads, your back, the shoulders, and even your hamstrings. Try adding some water runs to your schedule each week. Of course, you can also use them as a component of a larger fitness regimen in the pool when combined with some of the following activities.



Aquatic aerobics classes are an exciting social way to exercise


In spite of popular portrayals of water aerobics classes as being solely the domain of the elderly, everyone is welcome and everyone can find some benefits from enrolling in such a course. There are many different types of aerobics-style classes that take place in pools, including aquatic Zumba classes. If you find that it is easiest for you to maintain motivation for exercise when you do it with other people, these classes are the perfect solution for you.

In addition to offering the social aspect of exercising in a group, you gain the benefits of having someone lead you through a structured set of activities. Water aerobics often employ some barbell or hand weights that you will move around with in the water. This extra weight combines with the water's resistance to make for an effective workout. As a part of a balanced lifestyle including diet and other exercise, it's can even help with losing weight.

Making time in your week for a swim exercise class can be well worth your time if you simply need a quick and easy way to fit exercise into your busy schedule. Spending time to socialize and chat with your classmates isn't a bad thing, either! Exercising with an instructor has its benefits as well. A fitness professional can not only help you work on your form, but they can also assist you with developing better exercise techniques. Adding additional weights or other devices to increase the challenge of the workouts is something else they might do as well. Regardless, the guidance you receive in a class setting will be invaluable to developing your overall fitness. With the benefit of being able to learn in an environment free from competition and judgment, it's something worth considering for everyone.


Use weights for innovative and engaging strength training exercises



Using weights while you swim and work out isn't restricted just to water aerobics classes. In fact, you can purchase a set yourself and incorporate them into your routine all on your own. There are many different ways you might approach doing that; it doesn't have to be as simple as standing in one place and doing repetitions underwater. Working with weights in the water helps to boost your endurance, add tone to your muscles, and, as always, works out your heart and lungs, too. What are a few ways you can structure a swimming workout to include weight training as well? If regular lengths are boring, what about trying to do it while carrying a heavy weight? This workout uses a regular dumbbell and offers a relatively intense workout in the pool. Clutch a weight (choose a size appropriate for your ability, but 10 pounds is a good starting point) and try to make it from one end of the pool to the other underwater. Expect to surface plenty of times; you likely won't make it all the way.

However, you will be getting a very deep cardio workout while also pushing your muscles harder. You could also try crossing the pool with the weight clutched between your legs if you want to work out your core on a deeper level. Again, mix and match the exercises which seem to work best for you. You might also try adding weights to more traditional aquatic exercise moves, like underwater squats. There is an endless amount of variety you can introduce to your workout with weights.


Mix up your exercise and aerobics routine


All of these activities are effective for developing aquatic fitness but don't think of them as existing in a vacuum. Instead, choose the activities you like best and devise a schedule that works out your body in the ways you want. Try diving exercises, too. Weighted rings and sticks which sink to the bottom of the pool are excellent for this. Scatter them across the length of the pool. Then, dive in from one side and see how many you can collect before you must surface for air. This enjoyable exercise can be an intense workout or just a fun way to warm up before the meaty part of your day's swimming. With so many different ways to exercise in the water, it's easy to see that there is something for everyone in the pool. Whether you want to work on your conditioning by running in the water or you sign up for a water aerobics class, you'll quickly find it's an excellent way to exercise without wilting in the heat outside.

Don't forget it's a good way to exercise when injured, too, due to the low impact nature of moving through the water. Between burning calories, developing muscle tone, and even enjoying a social atmosphere, it's one of the most rewarding ways to work out. Who said swimming had to be an endless slog through lap after lap?