Swimming is an incredible workout — from improving heart health and strengthening your core, to burning calories and building long, lean muscles. But there are plenty of other ways you can use your pool to stay fit and turn your backyard into an outdoor gym.

Get started with these three ideas.

1. Straight Cardio

Cardio exercises in the pool can be a low-impact alternative to high-impact activities like basketball, running and weightlifting.

Walking or running: In at least waist-high water, try walking quickly — or even running — forward across your pool, then backwards to the other side. For maximum results, try walking or running in zigzag patterns to create even more resistance.

Knee lifts: Stand in the pool and hold a pool noodle with both hands. Lift one knee up at a time so that the pool noodle touches your shin. Repeat as many times as you can.

2. Core Strengthening

Strong core muscles can relieve back pain, make it easier to do other workouts and prevent injuries. Your pool is the perfect equipment for core-strengthening exercises.

Plank: With your feet on the pool floor and elbows straight, use both hands to hold a pool noodle under the water. Learn forward so your body is on an incline but your head stays above water. Hold as long as you can, up to 60 seconds.

One-leg balance: Stand on one leg and raise the other knee up to your hips. Hold a pool noodle under your raised foot so that the noodle makes a “U” shape under it. Hold for 30 seconds, switch and repeat.

3. Muscle Toning

Water weights used in the pool are a great way to tone muscle, especially in your upper body.

Bicep curls: Place your arms by your side, holding a weigh in each hand. Keeping your arms under the water, bend them at the elbow and pull the weights up to your shoulders. Lower and repeat.

Twists: Grab one weight with both hands and extend your elbows in front of you — keeping your arms about chest height and the weight underneath the water. Twist the weight from side to side, moving the rest of your body in the opposite direction.

Expand your outdoor gym even further. Find out how you can use your spa or hot tub in your workouts.

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