When you think of working out, getting in shape and dropping pounds, a gym is probably the first place that comes to mind. A pool workout with an aqua noodle, though, can be just as effective. Instead of machines and free weights, the water provides the resistance with less stress to your joints.

Low-impact pool workouts with noodles also make it possible for people who are dealing with a chronic disease, such as arthritis, to exercise and improve their joint range of motion without worsening the symptoms says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Noodle Push and Pull

Focus on your upper body by pushing and pulling your aqua noodle through chest-high water. This exercise requires two 16-inch noodles. Get into the shallow end of the pool and hold one noodle in each hand with your palms facing down.

Start with the noodles just below the surface of the water, close to your chest. Extend your arms and push the noodles straight out in front of you. Pull them back to your chest and repeat 10 to 12 times. To increase your heart rate and work on your cardio endurance, march or run and alternate your arms as you push and pull the noodles through the water.

Noodle Knee Tucks

To tighten and tone your abs, hips and legs, grab your noodle and swim or float up to the deep end of the pool. Wrap the noodle around your upper back and under your armpits. Bring the ends forward and hang onto them with your hands.

Start by extending your legs, keeping them together and floating with your toes pointing toward the bottom of the pool. Contract your abs and lift your knees toward your chest as far as you can. Pause for a count of two; then reverse your movement back to the starting position to complete one repetition. Perform 20 reps or until fatigued.

Aqua Noodle Squats

Target your butt and thighs by squatting with your noodle in chest-high water. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, grip the noodle slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, extend your arms and hold the noodle on the surface of the water. Simultaneously bend your hips and knees, squat and push the noodle down through the water to your knees.

Reverse your movements and then return to the starting position to complete one repetition. Perform 20 reps. A variation that works your obliques is to rotate your torso to the right, back to the center and then returning to the starting position. Repeat the squat with a rotation to the left to complete one repetition.

Noodle Workout Considerations

Even though exercising in water is easier on your body, perform a five to 10-minute warm-up to prepare your body and reduce the risk of injury. Warm-up exercises, performed on land, might include jumping rope, walking lunges, a light jog or marching on the spot with high knees, recommends ExRx.net.

With water walking, running, marching or running exercises, wear aqua shoes to help with traction. For safety, exercise with a friend or while there’s a lifeguard on duty. Consult your doctor before starting an aqua exercise program.

Source: LiveStrong.com