It is blazingly, miserably hot on the East Coast right now, so when my kids and I are not inside basking in the air conditioning, we’re outside splashing in the sprinkler or swimming at the pool. Swimming is one of my favorite all-time summer activities. But with two kids under 3, neither of whom can actually swim, I don’t get a lot of lap swimming in when we go. Instead, we splash around in the shallow end, play under the water feature, and “water” each other’s knees with the watering can.
But just because you’re a mom dedicated to supervising your splashing children, doesn’t mean you can’t get some form of exercise while you’re playing in the pool. Here are just a few of the water exercises I do to fit in some activity while my kids are dumping water on my head. The best part? It won’t even look like you’re exercising! If any move is uncomfortable, skip it — the main thing is just to move and have fun. (Tip: For moms who have older kids who swim like fish, do these before you relax on your lounge chair!)
7 Pool Exercises You Can Do With Your Kids
1. Water Walking. Walking through the water adds resistance to a water workout, but add a kiddo and walk from one side of the pool to the other in chest-deep water, and your legs will be burning in no time. My daughter thinks gliding piggy-back through the water is a blast; she has no idea it’s a workout for me. For bonus resistance? Add another kid; one on each hip!
2. Scissors. Any time you’re sitting in the shallow end is a good time for an ab and leg workout. With your legs in front of you in the water, pull your abs in tight and do scissor kicks in the water. You can also move your legs in and out, like a seated jumping jack, to work the inner thighs and hips.
3. Swimming Planks. Planks are one of my favorite ab moves, so take them to the water. Simply lie on your belly in the shallow water, hold your abs tight, and pushing down with the palms of your hands, swim your body out and back. (It may look more like a push-up, but have fun with it!) I did this move while my son was sitting in front of me, and each time I’d pull myself back toward him, he’d get a little wave of water, which he loved.
4. Hanging Kicks. This one is great when you need a bit of a break from your water walking. Face the side of the pool — you can either rest your elbows on the edge or simply grab on — and vigorously kick your legs behind you. It’s great for the buns, and a perfect way for a kid to learn to grab on the edge of a pool when they feel fatigued — and good kicking practice for them, too.
5. Water Toss. Toss your kid up into the air and catch them on the way back down, letting them splash on the way. If your kiddo’s a swimmer, feel free to toss as far as you can!
6. The Squat and Splash. With your child facing you with his or her legs around your waist, head to waist-deep water. Squat or drop yourself down so that your little one gets a fun splash before you push yourself back up to standing. Great for the entire lower body!
7. Treading Water. If you have kids who are able to swim, this is a great way to supervise them while you get some killer cardio. Treading water is simply a great full-body heart-healthy workout.
Do you use pool time as an opportunity to sneak in exercise or do you prefer to relax?