Working out in your backyard gym

Your pool, hot tub or swim spa isn’t just for relaxation and family time. They’re great “tools” for exercise too. For example, your hot tub or sauna is perfect for working on flexibility. Both a pool or swim spa are great for overall conditioning – cardio, muscular strength & endurance, flexibility and cool down. And these components are what make up a well-rounded fitness program. Here’s a quick breakdown:

According to the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association: “ACSM/AHA guidelines focus on 30 minutes of moderate-intensity daily physical activity five days a week. HHS (Health and Human Services) guidelines call for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, an amount most reasonable on five days a week at a duration of 30 minutes.”

Exercise should include the above mentioned components of cardiovascular, some kind of muscular strength and endurance as well as flexibility. Based on these guidelines, here are some ideas on how you can achieve them in your own backyard gym:

Cardio: Swimming laps (you can do intervals of fast and slow to mix it up a little) or doing some water aerobic exercises are proven methods for cardiovascular fitness. If you are just getting started, aim for 10 to 15 minutes and work your way up to 20 to 30 minutes. You’ll find you feel refreshed and energized and water-based exercises are “joint friendly”.

Muscular strength and endurance: Using special water “weights” or other similar devices you can perform exercises similar to what you would do in a gym, such as bicep curls, tricep dips on the pool steps, shoulder raises, single arm rows , pushups on the edge of the pool, squats and lunges in the shallow end for (2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions) for 10 minutes.

Flexibility and Cool down: (Stretching & Recovery) Once you’ve done your workout, don’t forget the all important cool down. Use the last few minutes of your workout to “warm down” your body. Then finish off with some stretches. For example, if you’ve been swimming in your pool, warm down with a couple of minutes of slow laps or walking in the shallow end of your pool. Once you’ve completed the warm down, stretch the muscles you’ve used – legs, thighs and upper body. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and avoid “bouncing” your stretches. Don’t forget that your hot tub or sauna can be a great treat for your muscles. They can both help with post-workout recovery. Once you’ve finished, grab a pool float, something cool to drink and relax! You deserve it!

Things to Consider:

  1. If you are just beginning an exercise program or have been “out of the loop” for a while always check with your healthcare provider first for exercise guidelines.
  2. When just beginning or re-starting, take it one step at a time. Doing a little something every day (e.g.,10 – 15 minutes of cardio) is a great way to get started.
  3. Aim for a goal of 5 days (frequency) a week for 30 to 45 minute (duration) day. With your cardio workout, at first focus on getting your heart rate up (intensity) to 65 – 70% of your maximum heart rate (220 – age).
  4. As you become more conditioned you’ll find you’ll be able to increase the overall frequency, duration and intensity of your workout.

So, go forth and conquer your fitness goals and in the meantime, come see us at one of our three store locations; we can help your stay healthy and relaxed. P.S. Happy Spring!

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