It's hot out there! There's no time like the present to submerge yourself in some refreshing H2O. And while you're at it, you can burn calories and tone up all over—faster, in fact, than if you exercised in the air-conditioned sanctuary of your gym. Why? Water provides 12 to 15 times more resistance than air. So you can burn as many as 3 ½ times more calories than if you walked at a moderate pace—and it's more refreshing! You don't even have to swim to get these results. Here are 21 easy ways to get started, from solo moves you can do in a pool or at the beach to high-energy games for the whole family. You'll have more fun, stay cool, and shed pounds in no time.
If you're hanging out at the pool, try... Treading Intervals
Burn twice the calories of regular treading
You'll slim down faster and firm up all over. In deep water, tread as hard as you can for 30 seconds. Then go easy or float on your back for 30 seconds. Fit in 30 bursts over your afternoon at the pool and you'll scorch nearly 300 calories.
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Make getting strong a snap
You're lighter in water, so full push-ups are easier while still being a super arm and shoulder toner, says Rob Shapiro, a 16-year veteran personal trainer in Brookline, MA. Start in plank position in the shallow end, hands on the top pool step and toes on the pool floor. Slowly bend elbows to lower as far as you can without getting your face wet. Straighten elbows and repeat. Work up to 2 or 3 slow sets of 15 reps.
Shape thighs without straining your knees
Water makes high-impact jumps joint-friendly. In waist-deep water, lunge with right foot forward, right thigh parallel to pool floor, left knee bent, hands on hips. Quickly jump up, scissor legs, and land with left leg forward. Do 15 to 20 times.
Firm legs from every angle
Water workouts provide 360 degrees of resistance, says Jay Cardiello, a certified strength and conditioning specialist in New York City. In waist-deep water, quickly swing right leg forward. Pause, then pull it back against the current to starting position. Next, swing leg to side, then back. Alternate legs for 10 to 15 cycles.
"Jog" in the water to burn fat fast
This move revs your heart rate to melt more calories, says Mary Sanders, PhD, a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise and director of WaterFit Wave Aerobics. Squat in waist- to rib cage-deep water, then jump up and "jog" vigorously for a count of 6. Repeat for 1 minute, then rest for 15 seconds. Do 2 more times.
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At the beach, try... Surf StrollingBlast up to 180 percent more calories than walking on pavement
The combo of sand and water kicks your lower-body muscles into high gear. Researchers found that walking in thigh-deep waves yields the biggest burn, but even ankle-deep water will tone your legs.
Wave JumpingDo squats without realizing it
Head out into waist-deep water, crouch down, and jump over the waves as they come in. Try jumping backward or sideways, or scissoring your legs.
The Ocean Push-and-Pull
Play a balance game to sculpt sexy abs
Simply staying upright as the waves hit works your abs and back to tone your torso. Try balancing on one foot to work more muscles. Or compete with your pals to see who can remain standing the longest. (Up the ante by facing the beach so the waves surprise you.)