10 pool exercises to burn off those holiday treats


Healthy poolIt is easy to overeat on Thanksgiving day with all the good foods, family, friends and, of course, desserts! 
As a dietitian, to offset the over-indulgence, I recommend drinking lots of water, eating slowly and doing some light exercise like a family walk.  Also, remember to be grateful for the good foods that you have and enjoy each bite!

After the big feast, it is important to get back on track with healthy eating and an exercise routine. Swimming and water exercises provide a fun, low-impact, and effective way to work off the mashed potatoes. Here are some calorie-burning exercises to do if swimming laps is just not your thing:

  1. Underwater bicycle legs  

    Rest your elbows on the edge of the pool or on a step in the pool and begin cycling your legs, using your core to maintain body position

  2. Leg lifts

    Also with your elbows resting on the edge or step, keeping your legs straight, lift both legs up so that your body is in the shape of an L.  Press your legs back down to starting position and repeat.

  3. Kicking against the wall

    Holding on the the edge of the pool with your hands, straighten your arms and begin kicking. To really burn some calories, pretend like you are trying to push the wall and kick very small and fast!

  4. Squat jumps

    In the shallow end of the pool, do squat jumps as you would on land, but in the water it involves holding your breath, the resistance of the water, but the water also offers a softer and slower landing.  

  5. Knee-tuck jumps

    Similar to the squat jump, go to shallow water and jump up, bringing your knees towards your chest.  Unlike the above-mentioned squat jumps, you do not need to return to squat position or put your head underwater when doing these jumps.

  6. Jumping jacks

    Exactly like jumping jacks on land, except the water offers resistance for your legs.  For a more advanced version, spread legs apart and return to starting position before your feet touch the bottom.

  7. Treading water

    If your pool has a deep end, begin by treading water with your arms and legs without touching the bottom or the wall for as long as you can.  To add a level of difficulty, use only your arms or only one arm at a time.  Remember to stay in a vertical, upright position with good posture!

  8. Vertical kicking

    Also in the deep end of the pool.  Begin in an upright, vertical position with good posture and then kick, freestyle or breaststroke kick, without using your arms or hands.  This is very advanced and will give you a great workout in a short time!

  9. Bicep curls with a pool weight

    Using a foam pool weight to add resistance, do bicep curls with your arms completely underwater.  

  10. Water running

    If your pool is shallow, simply run as you would on land across the pool.  If you plan to do a lot of water running, wear water shoes or old tennis shoes to protect the skin on the bottom of your feet.

So, now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it is time to get back on track with exercises!  When the weather is too cold for outdoor activities, go to a local pool and swim some laps or try some of these alternative water exercises to burn off all of that extra pumpkin pie!

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Claire McDaniel

Claire is a swimming and nutrition expert who loves to educate and motivate others to healthier living. She swam competitively for 18 years, is a five time All-American, a Division I National Champion, was co-captain of Team USA at the 2007 World University Games and was named a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. She also has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. After swimming, Claire started coaching and has coached all over the US and even in Switzerland! Her experience and expertise about both swimming and health fuel her passion for Clear Comfort’s mission – to make swimming a 100 percent healthy activity for swimmers, coaches, lifeguards and pool staff.