Holiday survival guide: make the most of the pool

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Holidays are to be made the most of, but that doesn’t mean undoing all the hard work you’ve put in to hone your beach body while you’re showing it off. Instead of lounging on a lilo by the swimming pool, see it as your saviour – just a few minutes of swimming and exercising in water will help to balance out that holiday excess.


1 mojito: 158 kcals

Burn it off: water jogging; aqua lunges (see moves below)

When you’re sipping your poolside cocktail, opt for one blended with fruit instead of cream – think mojitos, caipirinhas, and daiquiris – to avoid an unnecessary calorie spike. According to research from Speedo, 30 minutes of exercise in the water is the equivalent to approximately an hour’s non-water exercise, so the pool is the perfect time-saver to burn off the booze. Try water jogging or the fast water march below to get your heart rate high (though probably best done the morning after if you’re feeling as muddled as the mojito after one too many…).


A mojito and Magnum: 510 kcals

Burn it off: 30 mins high energy swim – any stroke; aqua jumping jacks; water jogging (see moves below)

According to research from Speedo, 30 mins of steady swimming torches between 200 and 350 kcals, so a quick tempo swim in the morning will set you up for a day of indulgence. To make your workout that bit harder – and get more calorie burn in the bank – add in some resistance exercises at the start of your swim. Exercises in water are tougher than in air, which means you’ll burn more calories doing those squats and lunges than on land.


The blow out meal = 1,000 kcals

Burn it off: 30 mins tempo swim – any stroke; jumping jacks; beach ball rolls; aqua lunges; K strokes (see moves below)

Holidays are hedonistic, so you can count on at least one blowout meal or three. Your trainers take up valuable suitcase room, so it’s handy that you’ll get a better workout swimming than running anyway. And that doesn’t just mean laps of full-on freestyle and butterfly – with the correct breaststroke technique, you can get real fitness benefits too. Combine your swim with some resistance exercises to keep seriously fit on holiday.


6 moves to make the most of the hotel pool

Swap the crocodile lilo for these water-based moves to keep your muscles moving.


Aqua jumping jacks

Stand in waist-high water with your arms relaxed by your sides. Bend your knees and spring up off the bottom of the pool as high as you can. As you jump, kick your legs out to the sides – pointing your toes down – and swing your arms out to the side and up above your head until your limbs form a star shape. Land with knees bent and feet apart. Repeat. Try 3 x sets of 10 reps.


Beach ball roll

Floating on your back with legs extended and feet together, hug a beach ball to your chest. Roll to the left, so your whole body rolls over the top of the ball. Use your shoulders, back, core and legs to make a full revolution, then return to the start and take a breath. Repeat and alternate the direction of the roll. Take a breather after a minute – or when you get dizzy.

Water march

Stand up straight in waist-high water and stride on the spot as if you’re marching. Aim for a good rhythmic walking movement and stretch your limbs to the full, pointing your toes and pulling your arms vigorously back and forth. Start slow then gradually increase the speed. Remember to use your arms as well as your legs to get a full body workout. If you’re feeling strong, go into a water jog. Try for 3 minutes or go for longer to feel the burn.


Aqua lunges

In waist-deep water, get into the lunge position with right foot forward, right thigh parallel to the pool floor, left knee bent, hands on hips. Quickly jump up, scissor legs, and land with your left leg forward. Try 3 x sets of 10 reps.


K tread

Tread water in the deep end, making small circles with cupped hands. Lift your right leg straight in front of you at hip level, raising it so it’s parallel with the pool floor. Point the toes of your left leg towards the bottom of the pool. Hold for 5 seconds. Switch legs quickly, bringing your right leg down as you raise the left leg. Continue alternating sides. Try 3 x sets of 10 reps.

Water jogging

Water jogging is the ultimate water-based exercise, burning far more calories than a lap round the park. Unlike running on land, your joints will be protected too so it’s much kinder on your body. Try for 3 minutes and up the time as you improve.