Pool Walking Exercises

Thursday, February 21 2019

Many people love to exercise by walking in the pool.   Imagine how great it would be to have some structured guidance to make this exercise activity more enjoyable and beneficial?  Good news!  U.K. Aqua Training Specialist, Steph Toogood, shares a water walking program jam-packed with corrective exercises that can make a difference in this very important function of daily life.  Caution…this aint no aimless stroll across the pool!  

Living in Florida I am around pools a lot.  The pool mecca of Florida has to be The Villages where I visit friends a couple times a year.  There are countless pools in this active aging planned community, all filled with older adults who are both relaxing and exercising.  The exercise of choice seems to be water walking.   My personal observations of people walking for exercise in the pool is that they seem very dedicated to their walking, but I have always believed that if they had more of a structure to follow, one designed by an expert with results in mind, they would benefit so much more from this time spent.  Good news!   The first video on PoolFit dedicated to Water walking is here!


Known all across the United Kingdom and the Aquatic fitness Industry as an expert in exercise solutions for aging bodies, Steph Toogood was recruited for this first PoolFit Water Walking video.  First and foremost, Steph wants to stress that water walking is not an easy option and that jogging is much easier because it involves bouncing and momentum.  “Walking in water requires balance and strength to push through the water in more a gliding motion as opposed to bounding,” says Steph.  As she practiced the routine with her students on the Isle of Wight, she said they were quite surprised at how challenging the walking patterns were and not just from a physical standpoint.  “I would like to stress that each walking pattern needs to include a full focus of attention from the brain to execute the task well and make the movements meaningful.”  Steph adds that her students report back that by learning to focus on specific movements the time flies by and both the enjoyment factor and the fitness gain are enhanced.

Aside from my request to put together a water walking video, Steph cites other inspirational factors in the creation of this program, including the observations of her own students as they walked from the changing area to the pool, their stiffened joints affecting their gait.  Watching the masses at airports and the variations stride length, use of arms and foot placement also provided her with ideas for designing the program.   Lastly, Steph gleaned interesting information form the book “8 Steps to a Pain Free Back” by Esther Gokhale.  “This book contains images and text that explain efficient walking which made me realize that the people that I have observed with enviable gait actual appear to glide along effortlessly,” says Steph.   The book refers to this as “Glide walking” and according to Steph it is actually best practiced in the pool.  Watch Steph describe her inspiration for creating this water walking program.



Featuring three segments, this program includes specific exercises to work on ankle & hip mobility, trunk stability, pelvic and thoracic rotation, along with strengthening weak musculature involved in walking, all designed to prepare the individual to move efficiently and effortlessly.

Segment 1:  Posture & Mobilization
The focus in this segment is foot and pelvis awareness, along with shoulder stabilization and mobilization.  The purpose here is to prepare the body for walking activities and to reinforce the importance of the arms in walking along with other critical factors.

Segment 2:  Dynamic Lengthening
Established in the first segment, the same strategy is used in demonstrating a movement stationary and then putting the same movement into a walking pattern.  Among other things, attention to stride length and strength is given here. 

Segment 3:  Drills/Skills & Movment
The focus and the muscular coordination progresses in this final segment as additional stationary and walking patterns are introduced.

PoolFit extends a big THANK YOU to Steph for once again traveling to Florida and sharing her passion and knowledge for creating exercise solutions for aging bodies.  Steph is the founder of Hydro-Actif, the United Kingdom’s most widely recognized and respected aquatic fitness organization. Check out Steph’s library of videos on Fitmotivation.com.

Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.