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Working out in a pool can be a valuable fitness activity for many people. Swimming has long been considered a beneficial form of exercise and a good way to improve one’s general health. Like swimming, aqua aerobics is another popular type of low-impact, cardiovascular workout that can also build muscle. Adding swimming accessories to either type of pool workout can often improve one’s overall fitness results. In general, these types of tools tone muscles by adding resistance in the water.
Weights are popular swimming accessories that can help enhance a pool workout. For instance, many people wear ankle weights or cuffs to add lower body resistance for walking or jogging in the pool. In addition, hand weights, sometimes called barbells or buoys, are often used for arm workouts. These tend to differ from regular hand weights because they are often made of a lightweight, foam material that floats. Most of a user’s effort comes from trying to control the weights in the water. Like their traditional counterparts, the barbells used in pool workouts are usually available in different sizes and weights.
Webbed water fitness gloves are another example of swimming accessories that can be worn to add resistance to a person’s strokes. They are not just for lap swimming, however. They can be worn for virtually any type of pool workout. Someone working with a trainer or in a water aerobics class could benefit by wearing these gloves while working out. One of their principal benefits is that they work the upper body and help strengthen the core.
Swimming accessories can also assist people with lower body resistance training. For instance, many people use special footwear, like aqua shoes or swim fins, during their pool workouts. The purpose of some aqua shoes is to provide traction while in the shallow end or walking outside the pool. Swim fins and some other types of heavy footwear provide resistance, requiring the person to work his or her legs harder than normal.
Several other types of swimming accessories can be used during pool workouts. Flotation belts, for example, assist with exercising in deep water and enable users to not worry about staying afloat. These are often worn for jogging and water aerobics routines. Another accessory is the fitness noodle — a long, cylindrical tube usually made of Styrofoam™ or a similar, buoyant material. These are somewhat flexible and are frequently used as resistance and stretching devices. Even kick boards can help someone work out more rigorously in a pool. With the proper training on how to use it, any swim accessory that adds resistance in the water can potentially improve one’s pool workout.
Another fun pool workout accessory is the pull buoy. A pull buoy is a figure-eight-shaped piece of lightweight foam that is placed between the swimmer's thighs to stop the swimmer from kicking, but also to provide flotation and balance. This allows the swimmer to focus exclusively on using their arms to pull themselves though the water - hence the name "pull buoy."
This is very similar the the function of the kick-board, which is used to support the front half of a swimmer's body while allowing them to simply kick. This provides a great lower body workout, and also allows beginning swimmers to perfect a more technically difficult kick, such as the breaststroke kick.
These two accessories are the most commonly used by lap and competitive swimmers.
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