Use the pool noodle to help your water class participants cool down.
Incorporating the noodle is one of my favorite cool-down strategies for a water class. It’s fun to use the noodle individually or—when you want to foster sociability—with partners.
Water Walking (not pictured). Just as it’s vital to warm up the body at the start of a workout, it’s extremely important to cool down at the end. Students need to slow down and allow the heart rate to drop gradually. Have participants walk or move for a few minutes before going into the following stretches. Students should hold each stretch for about 20–30 seconds (water temperature will determine the transition rate). For a nice transition move, use the noodle to swish or flow through the water.
Hamstring Stretch. Hold ends of noodle in front of body with both hands. Raise right leg, balance and place noodle under ankle. Arms can go out to the sides for balance. “Trust” noodle by letting right leg float out and up. Body stays erect, with abdominals in. Focus on good posture.
Adductor Stretch. Slowly take right leg out to side, balancing on left leg. Adjust position to feel a comfortable stretch in inner thigh (do not go to point of pain). Body is erect, with shoulders down and abs in.
Quadriceps/Hip Flexor Stretch. Bend right leg in toward body, and move noodle under shin. Allow noodle and leg to press behind. Keep abdominals in, and try not to arch lower back. Squeeze buttocks slightly, and push working side of hip forward. Feel sternum being lifted. Move in and out of stretch safely and with control. Repeat sequence on opposite leg.
Upper-Back Stretch. Find a partner. Place your two noodles parallel, and stand at opposite ends, each holding both noodles. Simultaneously pull away from each other to stretch upper back. While stretching, stay stable and balanced, with feet wide and abs in.
Chest Stretch. Partner A turns away from Partner B and clasps noodles behind her, while Partner B maintains position, holding other ends. Partner A falls away from noodles, while still holding on, and feels an upper-chest stretch. Switch roles after 20–30 seconds.
Lateral Stretch (not pictured). Stand facing your partner, each holding one end of a noodle in each hand. With legs wide for balance, pull away from each other and simultaneously lift one noodle overhead for a side stretch (one partner feels the stretch on the left, one on the right). Switch sides.