12 Days of Fitness – Day 4
Keep your spirits high and your body fat low with twelve workouts to keep you fit during the holidays. Improve your fitness level with these workouts designed by fitness staff here at the Center. Visit our blog every day until Christmas to get the latest workout.
Today’s workout was created by Wellness Coach Erica Daniels.
Nautical Noodles – pasta without the guilt!
The benefits of aquatic exercise are plentiful, whether you’re a novice or a natural swimmer. Water workouts are low-impact, taking the pressure off your bones, joints and muscles. Water also offers 360 degrees of natural resistance. And, because you are buoyant in water, you can turn up the intensity level without fear of injury.
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind with any aquatic exercise:
Keep moving, the more you move, the more calories you will burn. Movement will also help your body temperature to adapt more quickly to the water temperature.
Abs tight. Alright! Be sure to squeeze your abdominal muscles tightly and avoid leaning too far forward or backward. Keep your spine in neutral alignment. This will help improve your posture and overall balance. It also helps to avoid low back injury.
Breathe. It’s easy to hold your breath while performing repetitive resistance movements. But, instead you should inhale and exhale as deeply as possible while working through the training. Remember –hold your abs, not your breath.
Let’s get started
You will need a pool noodle that is 2 to 3 inches in diameter and solid construction (no hole in the middle).
Start with a 3 to 5 minute warm up. Here are some great exercises for warming up the legs, core, and upper body:
Cross country ski – legs only, hands resting on the top of the noodle. Don’t bounce, simply slide your feet along the bottom of the pool with wide, gliding scissor motion. (30 sec)
Jacks – legs only, hands resting on the top of the noodle. Don’t bounce, simply slide your feet along the bottom of the pool with wide, gliding motion to the side. (30 sec)
Hamstring curls, hands resting on the top of the noodle, alternate right and left. (30 sec)
Breast stroke – arms only, letting your noodle float in the water, get your shoulders down in the water and breast stroke while walking around in the pool. (1 minute)
Jump/twist – holding noodle horizontally in front of you, jump up and twist at waist in the opposite direction of your arms. (30 sec)
Ski/tuck – legs only, hands resting on the top of the noodle. Don’t bounce, simply slide your feet along the bottom of the pool with wide, gliding scissor motion. Finish with a tuck, drawing both knees to your chest without pushing the noodle under the water. (30 sec)
Kick it up a notch
Now you’re ready for some moderate to high intensity moves. These movements should be bouncy, using the water to your advantage. Each of these can be repeated for 30 seconds to 1 minute:
Jacks – Hold the noodle so that it arch shaped, with only the tips of the noodle in the water. As you open your legs for a jumping jack, also open your arms. The deeper you hold the tips in the water, the more resistance you will feel.
Ankles – Hold the noodle so that it arch shaped. Bring your right ankle up while simultaneously bring the tip of the noodle in your left hand to meet the right ankle (opposite hand to opposite ankle).
White water rafting – Start with your left arm above your head (noodle in hand) and your right arm in the water by your right side (noodle in hand). Pretending the noodle is a double-sided paddle, dig your right arm deep into a paddling motion (bend slightly at the waist) and then switch sides so that now the right arm is above your head and the left arm is in the water. Alternate and repeat. It’s similar to a figure-eight pattern.
Plank – Hold the noodle in your hands about shoulder distance apart, submerged under water with stiff, straight arms. Let your legs float behind you, keeping them straight behind you. Relax your neck. Engage your abs to help keep you from tipping side to side. You should look as if you are doing a plank in midair.
Use your noodle
Finally, you can straddle the noodle and sit on it like it’s a horse. Make sure your feet do not touch the bottom of the pool, make sure your spine remains straight, do not lean forward or back, and most importantly – keep your abs tight. Make a breast stroke movement with your arms and bicycle your legs.
Using the aqua noodle is only limited by your imagination. Be safe and enjoy this pasta in large portions – without guilt.
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