Swimming is a fun way to stay fit and healthy. It is a great low-impact activity that targets a full-body workout: cardio, healthy heart rate, and strong lungs. It also promotes endurance while toning the muscles and building strength. It can help you improve your musculoskeletal system and burn many calories.

To reap the benefits, you can incorporate several pool exercises to make the activity even more fun. These exercises focus more on flexibility and other techniques.

About Pool Exercises

Swimming is one of the safest and most enjoyable forms of aerobic exercise. As mentioned, it is an excellent low-impact, full-body workout.

Pool exercises are a wide range of workouts you can perform in an aquatic or swimming environment. These activities take advantage of the water’s buoyancy, resistance, and support to provide an effective boost to overall health.

Why is Water Exercise Good for You?

According to 2021[1] studies, swimming workouts are a convenient non-pharmacological approach for managing obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. These activities can significantly improve blood flow, physiological functions, and metabolic processes.

Swimming is also used for improving cognitive function and reducing the risk of dementia. It is good for mental health, especially reducing the symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other disorders. But, in most cases, it is used for weight loss and muscle strength.

Water Reduces Body Weight

By immersing yourself in water, you can perform water exercises that can be hard to do on land. The inherent buoyancy of water boosts your flexibility and enhances your mobility.

Even people who are overweight or obese find it easy to swim. That’s because fat is less dense than bone and muscle, and water provides buoyancy, making it easier to exercise without feeling the full impact of your body weight.

To top it all off, completing laps in the pool results in a higher calorie burn compared to some other cardio exercises. If you spend half an hour a day doing pool exercises, accompanied by a balanced diet, you can shed about half a pound to 1.5 pounds[2] per week.

Water Provides Constant Resistance

Water provides natural resistance, which improves muscle strength. Since it also supports most of your body weight, it lessens the impact on the joints. Therefore, people who recently had surgery or an injury can start water exercises sooner.

Pool Exercises for a Full-Body Workout

Each exercise has its role to play. Choose the one that feels comfortable for you and is something you can handle with your current swimming skills.

1. Walk in Water

Begin with water walking. In waist-deep water, walk across the pool while moving your arms like you would on land. Remember not to walk on your tiptoes and keep your back straight. Engage your belly muscles to prevent leaning too much forward or to the side.

To make these swimming workouts more intense, use hand webs or other tools to add resistance while moving your arms in the water. Wearing water shoes can help you maintain grip on the pool floor.

2. Water Arm Lifts

These pool exercises can make your arm muscles stronger. Using foam dumbbells will make it harder. Position yourself in water so that the level reaches up to your shoulder height while standing upright.

Keep the dumbbells at your sides, palms facing up. Bring your elbows close to your body and lift your forearms to water level. Rotate your wrists to turn your palms downward. Return your arms to the starting position.

Complete 1 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions for each workout.

3. Back Wall Glide

This workout engages your lower body muscles and core. First, grab the pool edge, bring your knees close to your chest, and push your feet against the wall.

Push yourself away from the wall and float on your back, trying to go as far as possible. Bring your knees toward your chest again. Then press your feet down to the pool floor, and ‘run’ back to the wall.

Repeat this aqua aerobics for 5 to 10 min.

4. Jumping Jacks

Water jumping jacks engage muscles in both your lower and upper body. You can increase the difficulty by using ankle or wrist weights.

Position yourself in water so that it reaches up to your chest. Begin with feet together and arms down. Jump, simultaneously spreading your legs apart and raising your arms above your head. Jump back to the starting position, feet together, arms down.

Complete 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

5. Leg Shoots

This is one of those swimming workouts that you can use to engage your legs, lower back, and core. To get the best results, avoid touching the pool floor with your feet throughout this exercise.

Bring your knees toward your chest. Quickly push your legs and feet forward, and try to float flat on your back. Bring your knees back in. Push your legs backward and float on your stomach.

Aim for 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

6. High-Knee Lift Extensions

This activity strengthens your core and lower body muscles. If you are looking for exercises that burn belly fat, then you might want to use resistance bands for swimming. They can have a profound impact on your fitness performance.

Position yourself in the water so that it reaches up to your waist. Tighten your core and lift your right leg. Bend your knee until your leg is parallel to the water surface. Hold your lifted leg for a couple of seconds. Straighten your leg and hold for a few seconds.

Gently lower your leg while keeping it straight. Do the same steps with your other leg. Keep going for 5 to 10 min.

7. Leg Kicks

This is another one of those exercises that burn belly fat. Especially if you pair them with a balanced diet. This workout targets your core and leg muscles. It can help shed some inches from your thighs, hips, and belly.

Place your hands on the pool’s edge or hold a kickboard. Use your legs to perform rapid and alternate kicking motions. Move your feet up and down in the water. Move your legs in a scissors motion and perform breaststroke kicks. Then, move on to dolphin kicks.

Complete each kick for 1 to 3 min.

Lateral Arm Lifts

8. Lateral Arm Lifts

This workout focuses on your upper body and works well with foam dumbbells. To start, stand in water at shoulder level. Grip the dumbbells at your sides. Lift your arms sideways until they’re parallel with the water and your shoulders. Bring your arms back to your sides.

Complete 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 14 repetitions.

Safety Tips

  • Stay out of the water when you are very tired or sick.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal before swimming.
  • Stay off unstable or slick surfaces when climbing.
  • Use a handrail to get into a pool.
  • Swim in areas where you feel comfortable. Don’t delve too deep or farther than you can manage.
  • Don’t jump or dive in shallow water.
  • Never leave a phone charging by the pool.
  • Don’t stand near the air conditioner after swimming as you may catch a cold. Instead, let the body rest at room temperature for a little while.
  • Cleanse yourself properly from chlorine after swimming.

What Are the Benefits of Pool Exercises?

Whether you are at a beach, lake, or nearby swimming pool, aqua aerobics is a great way to get many benefits. You can expect swimming to:

  • Keep you cool. Most of the exercises you will be doing on land can cause you to overheat. Swimming is different. It decreases the risk of overheating and cools your body down relatively quickly.

  • Tone the muscles and keep the joints nimble. Swimming is a unique sport that provides a mix of both strength and cardiovascular training. Research[3] shows that aqua aerobics boosts your physical strength and decreases the stress in the joints.

  • Lose belly fat fast. According to a 2015 study[4], women who swam for 60 min 3 times weekly, managed to reduce their body fat. They also improved their muscle strength and flexibility and reduced their cholesterol through water exercises.

  • Reduce the risk of injury. Aqua aerobics are an excellent choice for rehabilitation. They are almost pain-free and can help you heal faster.

  • Keep the heart healthy. A 2014 report[5] shows that regular 15- to 45-minute swimming can reduce systolic blood pressure and help manage hypertension. It can also relax the blood vessels and the internal organs.

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Do You Need Any Special Equipment?

You can do swimming workouts with minimal equipment. But, some items can come in handy. Such as goggles, swim caps, kickboards, pull buoys, floating noodles, and water weights. Although they can help enhance your swimming exercise, they are not necessary.

You can exercise without any special equipment. The choice depends on your skill level, fitness goals, and the type of workout you want to engage in.


Are pool workouts effective?

Exercising in water is a powerful method for enhancing cardiovascular endurance while simultaneously fortifying main muscle groups.

What exercise burns the most belly fat in the pool?

Some of the exercises that burn belly fat are leg kicks and high-knee lift extensions. But, you must be consistent and consume a balanced diet to shed the excess pounds.

Is water aerobics better than walking?

According to Harvard Experts[6], with recreational swimming, you can expect a similar calorie expenditure as brisk walking. Both activities are performed at a moderate intensity and offer similar results. But, swimming doesn’t stress the joints.


Doing water-based exercises that burn belly fat is an excellent opportunity to include in your physical activities. It could serve as a beneficial method for seniors, people who are overweight or obese or want to stay healthy to maintain an active lifestyle.

Water exercises alleviate joint discomfort, and promote joint mobility and flexibility. Once you are comfortable with the easy workouts, you can increase the intensity and experiment with different swimming equipment.