One of the coolest workouts you can get is at your local water park. It cools you down to the bone on a hot summer day, plus it provides a great workout to your muscles, heart and lungs.
The workout comes from the hundreds of stairs you have to climb to get to the top of the slides. With each step, you must lift your entire body weight, first with one leg, then with the other. It's more physical work than a treadmill or jogging. But one of the biggest pluses is that it's a great fat burner. Each minute of stair-climbing burns about 10 calories, so a mere half-hour of quick stair-climbing will burn up to 300 calories.
The exercise is aerobic and anaerobic, meaning you get both cardio and muscle-building benefits out of it. But you may be having too much fun to stop to take a rest, and if there are no lines, you may spend hours climbing those fat-burning stairs. That's why frequent breaks are essential when putting your body under such hard physical stress on a hot day. Put a blanket or towel down in a shady area, and rest for at least 30 minutes every two hours It's easy to get overworked at a water park.
Aside from the adrenaline rush of sliding, there are other ways to get an even more thorough workout at a water park. Most parks have some sort of 'river' attraction, with a slow but definite current. The current carries people floating on inner tubes around the river.
However, if you walk AGAINST the current, it works your core. The harder you push through the water, the more resistance you get, so that allows you to adjust how hard you want to work your core. In addition to working the abs, obliques and spinal erectors, this type of water workout also will exercise the hip flexors and glutes - again, while burning fat.
Most parks also have some type of wave pool. Use it for a great no-strain plyometric workout. Plyos are exercises that increase force, power and quickness. Whatever your sport, even golf, plyometrics will make you a better athlete.
But the big barrier to doing plyos is that you have to be in good shape to do these "spring-loaded" movements, otherwise they may put damaging strain on joints and connective tissue. Water removes the impact factor.
Walk into the wave pool until the water is at your shoulder level. With each wave, jump forcefully off the pool bottom to keep your head from being submerged. Try to jump so that you get as much of your body as possible out of the water.
Plyos are great training for any sport that requires air time, whether it's BMX, skating, motocross or winter halfpipe and slopestyle tricks. But you'll also be amazed at how they increase your power as an athlete.
Two caveats for a water park workout: If the park sells a season pass, it's a much more economical way to use the park as an alternate 'gym.' And remember that sunscreen should be reapplied every 80 minutes, since that's about as long as the sun protection will last, regardless of the SPF.
But when the heat of the day hits the upper 90s, the water park workout is a great way to keep up with your conditioning program and keep cool at the same time.