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Easy holiday pool exercises

OK, so holidays are for fun and relaxing, but that’s not to say you can’t throw in a few gentle pool exercises. We’ve put together our favourite (and best of all, easy) holiday exercise ideas, suitable for every fitness level – no punishing exercise programme required.

How to… make use of your time splashing in the pool


Chatting to your friends and family while they splash around in the pool is the perfect opportunity to sneak in some gentle exercise. Try the following exercises for an easy fitness boost…



  • Pool-held leg kicks. Grab the edge of the pool and kick your legs for a gentle lower body workout.


  • Walking lunges. Give your glutes and quads a challenge by lunging across the width of the shallow end. Keep your back upright and your knees in line with your feet.


  • Jogging on the spot. Whether in the shallows or waist-high in the water, on-the-spot jogging is a quick way to boost your heart rate. To make it more challenging, bring your knees up high towards your chest and jog briskly for 45 seconds.



How to… get in a quick blast of cardio without swimming lengths


For a speedy way to get your heart rate up, try treading water. It doesn’t require equipment and you can do it wherever it’s deep enough to kick your legs. Sculling with your hands while treading water helps you stay afloat – if you want to up the challenge, keep your arms by your side or raise them above your head.

How to… strengthen and tone your lower body


Take your pick from the following exercises, which each work the lower body in a different way.



  • Leg-only swimming. Borrow your child’s kickboard or grab a rubber ring (or any other flotation device) and swim across the pool using just your legs to propel you. Mix it up and work a variety of muscles by alternating between a breaststroke and freestyle kick.


  • Step-ups. Does your pool have wide, graduated steps? If so, use them to perform easy step-ups. Try two at a time to really work your glutes and quads.


  • Jumping squats. Stand waist-deep in the water with your feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Bend your legs and push up into a jump. As you land, sit into a deep squat then immediately push off into another jump. Repeat 10-15 times.



How to… get in a short swim fitness session


Only have ten minutes to spare? Make it count by performing quick swimming sprints, one length at a time, to raise your heart rate. To work more of your muscles, alternate between freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke for every length you swim.

How to… stay active while having fun


Grab your friends and family and get them involved in a host of fun, pool-based games. If you have the space (and the props to fashion a makeshift net), kick off a game of water volleyball. Alternatively, get all the family set up for a relay race or incorporate some heart-rate boosting sprint work in a ‘first to touch the wall…’ style game. After all that, there’s always a game of family tag – easy to play and always a winner with the children.