6 Creative Ways to Turn Water Parks into Workouts

waterpark tube

Water parks seem to be mandatory summer fun for adults with children (and maybe even for a few with no kiddos!). When your long summer day involves hanging out at a water park from sunrise to sunset, here are a few creative ways you can burn a few extra calories while cooling off.

The Wave Pool

Hopefully, you can convince your family to hang in the wave pool while you’re visiting the park. The wave pool provides the biggest opportunity for getting a workout in while your children are floating, splashing, and swimming. Check out these easy ways to get your heart rate up:

Aqua Jogging – To receive maximum benefits of water jogging, you’ll need to be in deeper water (up to chest height), but even if you’re in a shallower spot, go against the current and try to jog forward. You’ll be amazed how demanding this is on your core, and depending on how swiftly you’re moving or how strong the current is, how tough the cardio workout can become.

Tube Treading – As your kids float on their tubes or floats, hold on to the edge of yours while floating on your belly and be the motor. Flutter kick or mimic a jogging motion while your legs are out behind you to navigate the tube around the water. Or, your can try to keep the tube in place by alternating kicking behind you and then in front of you. And, if you’re up for a fun partner challenge with your kiddo, hook your feet around theirs and float either belly up (use your arms to stay in place) or belly down (use breast stroke arms to try to stay in place)!

Wave Jumping – If your bathing suit will comply, try jumping the waves as they come by. You can jump straight up, with straight legs, or for an added challenge, try to tuck your knees up to your chest as you leap out of the water. Jump training in the water is easy on the joints and challenging for the heart!

The Lazy River

Why be lazy when you can sneak in a few strength and core moves while floating along?! Try these:

Belted Belly – Lying on your back on the tube, tummy up, try this sneaky move: Pretend you have a belt around your mid-section. Then, pull in, equally, from all sides as if you were trying to cinch the belt one more notch. Avoid simply “hollowing” out the belly (pulling the belly button into the spine and pressing the spine to the bottom of the tube); instead focus on decreasing the entire circumference of your midsection. Hold for 10-15 seconds, release, and try again.

Invisible Hug – Your arms are usually draped over the edge of the tube when floating down the lazy river. Use this natural position to get an upper body workout! Simply squeeze your shoulders, chest, biceps, and triceps as you press into the tube. Hold for 10-15 seconds, release, and try again.

waterpark slideThe Slides

Usually you have to hike a few stairs to get to the top of the water park slides. Take your trips seriously and focus on squeezing your glutes each time you step for a little lower body shaping while on the move. If you have the opportunity, you can also walk up side ways or take two stairs at a time. Of course, if you’re carrying floats or tubes, be very careful, and if the stairs are wet (they usually are), take extra caution. Then, while waiting in line, try calf raises with one or two feet!

Now, you have plenty of ideas to kill two birds with one stone while you’re having fun this summer. Enjoy.

Slide photo credit: DSCN8323 via photopin (license)


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Shannon Fable, 2013 IDEA and 2006 ACE Instructor of the Year, is the VP of Fitness Programming for the FIT4MOM® franchise. For more than two decades, she has helped impressive brands such as Anytime Fitness, Schwinn®, Power Systems, ACE, Silver Sneakers, and BOSU® as a fitness business and programming consultant. An experienced educator, freelance writer, and certified Book Yourself Solid® Business Coach, she helps fitness entrepreneurs navigate the industry and make more money. Fable serves as Vice Chair of the ACE Board of Directors and is the founder and co-owner of GroupEx PRO®, a cloud-based group fitness management tool.