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If you enjoy walking but would like to change things up from your usual routine, wading is an option that can boost your fitness.

This low-impact exercise has the potential to give you a great cardio workout, it can also help you burn calories, while building strength in many muscle groups. It is gentler on your joints, making it a safe exercise option.

Train Like Top Footballers

Water is much denser than air. Exercising in water requires more effort than the same exercise on land. The extra resistance of wading in water allows you to challenge and strengthen your muscles in ways you may not be able to with a land-based routine. Footballers use this exercise to build strength, endurance and agility.

While repetition is important when first learning, variation is the key to mastering a movement, having an enjoyable exercise experience and getting results.


You don’t need much gear for wading. Simply use variety of clothing layers to adjust the level of water resistance and keep it interesting. Some teams use weighted sneakers and a special underwater mat for better grip. Fitness centers may have equipment like water treadmills or elliptical trainers that you can use.

Wade Back and Forth

Wading in waist to chest deep water does wonders for your leg muscles. Walk a full pool width forward. Then walk backwards to train areas left over after regular water walking.

lifeguard training wade backward
lifeguard training wade forward

Stride Improvement

Practice your stride with pool games. Simply use the same running form as you would on land to propel yourself forward through the water.

You'll move much slower than on land, so measure your workout by time, not distance. The difficulty of the workout will depend on leg turnover rather than speed.

To raise your heart rate, increase your cadence. The faster you move your arms and legs in the water, the harder the workout and the greater your strength gain will be. Stay conscious of your form and be careful to mimic your on-land stride, not the doggy paddle.

Pushing legs through the pool helps strengthen muscles and joints, while the buoyancy water provides will allow you to complete a tough "run" with little recovery time. Water is denser than air, so you can encounter tremendous resistance which you can adjust with more or less clothing.

Six Directions

Now that you’ve got the move, it’s time to get creative. Moving in six directions is the key ingredient to water workouts that makes them original and so effective. It’s simple:

Move forward and backward,
right to left and back,
rotate left and right.

Create a Whirlpool

Wade in a circle to stir up the pool. Have everybody get into the pool and line up single file along the edge with very little space between them. Walk for a couple of minutes, then jog another couple of minutes, then "run" around the edge for another couple of minutes.

If done right the water will "carry" them around the pool when they relax. Finally, tell them to turn around and go the other way. It is almost impossible to go against the current, so it's a lot of fun to watch the students struggle.

Pool Sprint

The pool sprint helps you test your fitness level and provides a cross training element. It is perfect for those who wish to explore their physical limits.

This exercise builds lower body core strength and leg muscles. Water provides a strong resistance to the runner, making pool sprint an extremely efficient and interesting alternative to other exercise and top sports. Plus, it looks cool.

Run the Width of the Pool

Go into waist deep water and run the width of the pool as fast as you can. See how many widths you can do. Ten or more would be good.

Increase Step Size by Widening Your Pace

Up to your chest in water, take bigger steps propelling your body forward while you maintain balance. Swing your arms in wide motion. This helps train the muscles in your hips stretching the hip joint said to be related to the correction of pelvic distortion related health problems that arise more frequently as you age.

Add an Extra Challenge

On each side get out, touch the wall, and jump back in for the next width. Not hard enough? Instead of touching the wall, do 10 push-ups, or 10 sit-ups, or 10 squats. After each lap add another five repetitions to the poolside workout.

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