My mom used to claim that the hours she would spend supporting her upper body on an inflatable raft was a form of exercise since her pecs would be sore the following day. I’m not too sure about that claim, but it is true that water activities can be a workout with just a little imagination and effort. All too often, we think that exercise has to be separate and structured from normal activities. That’s not the case. One of the best ways to make fitness a part of your life is by looking for opportunities to move all the time.
Next time you’re at a waterpark, try some of these exercises:
- The stairs. Oh, the stairs. A side benefit of going to the park when it is not too busy is that you can get quite a workout by walking up the endless stairs. No line? Then you’ve cardio on top of some fabulous lower body work.
- Many parks require that you carry your tube to the top of each ride. Resist the urge to roll the tube; use it to do shoulder presses or even some core rotations. If you gotta carry it, you might as well use it!
- Standing in line is an inevitable part of amusement parks. Use that time to stretch (do some calf stretches or forward folds to work out the kinks from walking on concrete) or even do some triceps dips or incline pushups using the railings that separate the line.
- Turn the lazy river into an active river by walking or swimming against the current. It’s like your own endless pool!
- If you’re a strong swimmer, challenge yourself to tread water in the deep end of the wave pool. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll tire out!
- If your park has the floating lily pads with the overhead ropes, by all means try it! It takes a great amount of upper body strength and balance to make it across. And, if you fall, it’s fun:)
Don’t undo your efforts by overindulging in the unhealthy foods offered at the park. If allowed, bring in your own cooler or pack a lunch and leave the cooler in the car. If your park is stricter about personal food items, a claim of a food allergy will often let your contraband slide (yeah, kinda underhanded but I see only offering unhealthy choices as pretty despicable). My local park has funnel cake topped with sweetened fruit, ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Yikes! Their only “healthy” options are a “salad” (iceberg lettuce only) and fruit chews (sugar pretending to be nutritious). I’ll stick with my protein bars:)