Pool exercises are a good way to burn calories and beat Merida’s summer heat

Use a pool harness to swim in place. (PHOTO: Andrea Aguilar)

Andrea Aguilar, a recent arrival in Merida, is sharing her experiences as a new member of the community. Here is her fourth installment for TYT readers:

Most everyone knows that it is necessary to move our bodies and burn some calories for good health, and weight management. I enjoy exercising regularly at home practicing yoga, and circuit training using both body weight, and free weights. (Circuit Training = a form of body conditioning or resistance training using high-intensity aerobics. It targets strength building and muscular endurance. –Wikipedia)

Now, with a swimming pool at our house in Merida, I am experimenting with exercises to do in the water, which is an inviting alternative in this Yucatan Summer weather. Wearing water shoes is helpful, though not necessary.

My husband, who likes to swim, constructed an inexpensive harness for the effect of lap swimming in place. It’s made from a hammock rope, a rubber resistance band, and a leash, attached to a hammock hook on the wall.

Use a pool harness to swim in place. (PHOTO: Andrea Aguilar)
Use a pool harness to swim in place. (PHOTO: Andrea Aguilar)

These are some instructional moves I found to be effective, that you might like to try as well:


Agua Jog – Jogging in the water with the same form as on land, with feet flat, long strides, and pump arms, across the length of the pool. Then try running with high knees, and heel-to-butt kicks across the pool.

Bicycle With your arms supporting you out of the water on the ledge of the pool, or in the water on a step, circular bicycle pedaling motion with your legs is effective in the water.

Twists Keep feet together, twist side to side with a jumping motion, arms at chest level in front twisting in opposite direction of legs. This is effective for a little oblique work as well.

Lateral side-to-side hops – Feet together, arms bent at elbows jumping side-to-side.

These are all good exercises to raise the heart rate a little, and incorporate some muscle work. I found aqua jogging around the perimeter of the pool challenging as water provides effective resistance, and it’s hard to go fast.

I learned of using a resistance band in the water from these exercises designed by Trainer, Chris Freytag, I gave it a try and found they were effective as well.(http://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/cardio-and-strength-training-water-workout-pool). I liked the upright rows, overhead shoulder press, and chest fly.

I also put the resistance band under my feet hip-width apart; holding the handles at shoulder height, then with soft knees took lateral steps across the pool, then back. You feel this in the leading leg.


I found some good abdominal moves on this Pop Sugar video (http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Pool-Workout-Abs-Core-31029282)

Superman Kick – was challenging. Holding on the side ledge of the pool with arms out straight, you push your legs out straight and kick under water as fast as you can for 30-second (or longer) intervals. I felt this in my legs, abs, and increased heart rate, which make this a good cardio move too.

Straight Leg Raise – works lower abdominal muscles – with arms on the side ledge holding you up, low back and hips against the wall, keep your abs tightened and lift both legs up toward the surface and then lower. 10-15 reps.

I am also trying exercises from regular workouts and some translate in water better than others. Various other moves that work well are jumping jacks and cross jacks, standing front-kicks, side-kicks, and back-kicks.  If any fitness enthusiasts out there know of other good pool exercises, please let me know.

By Andrea Aguilar for TYT


andrea-aguilar-thumb-e1463415550932Andrea Aguilar is an American expat. She spent a year traveling the world with her husband while they searched for a new community to call home after having lived in San Francisco for 20 years. Her interests typically include yoga, writing, reading, and once she leaves the house, discovering a new adventure.  Follow more of Andrea’s adventures on her blog andrea*poem, or Instagram (andreapoem).