Swimming is a Total Body Workout that Burns Calories and Tones Muscles
If you’re thinking about starting a swimming routine as part of your summer workout, you’re on your way to total body fitness! Not only is swimming a great aerobic exercise that will give your heart a workout, tone muscles, and improve flexibility, but it’s low impact. So unlike other forms of cardio such as running, swimming is easy on your body. And swimming at a moderate pace can burn close to 250 calories in 30 minutes. When you’re in the water, your body weight is one-tenth what it is on land, reducing stress on bones, tendons, and joints.
Many women switch to swimming due to injury, pregnancy, or other conditions that make high-impact exercise impractical. Others find that the routine of swimming laps gives them more energy and reduces anxiety.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO START SWIMMING
Whether you swim indoors or outside, it’s important to find a pool with designated lap lanes and swim times. Then you’ll want some basics to make swimming more comfortable.
A good pair of well-fitting goggles is key, to protect your eyes from chlorine and other pool chemicals and to enable you to see clearly under water. You may have to try several styles before you find the right goggles. You want a tight fit that keeps the water out but doesn’t leave red marks on your face!
A comfortable, durable swimsuit is a necessity. When you’re swimming for exercise, a sexy string bikini or other skimpy suit is probably not the best choice; save it for lounging poolside or at the beach. You need a sleek, polyester suit made by a swimwear company such as Speedo with a racer-back that lets your arms move freely.
If you have long hair, or you color your hair, invest in a swim cap. It’s not a fashion statement, but it will keep the hair out of your way as you swim, and keep the chemicals from damaging your hair.
SWIMMING FOR FITNESS TIPS
If you jump into the pool and start swimming as fast as you can, you’ll probably be pooped after a couple of laps! As with any new exercise, you need to start slowly and build up your swimming workout. For the first week, experts recommend swimming for 30 seconds and then resting for 30 seconds. Repeat this pattern at least ten times. If you keep it up, you’ll find yourself able to swim for longer and longer periods without stopping. Your goal should be at least 20-30 minutes four or more days a week. How fast you swim is not important. If you already exercise, whether you take yoga or Pilates classes or lift weights, swimming will complement your overall fitness program. If you’re brand new to swimming, consider taking a class at a gym or YMCA, or hiring a swim coach just to get started. You will learn proper form for different strokes that will help you get the most out from your swimming program.
SWIMMING FOR FITNESS TIP #1: Swimming laps isn’t your only option at the pool. There are other equipment and exercises to keep you from getting bored and provide you with the best water workout.
SWIMMING FOR FITNESS TIP #2: Once you’re swimming comfortably, add a set of fins and a pull-buoy to your routine. Fins work your legs and help propel you through the water. Placing a pull-buoy between your legs allows your lower body to rest, working your upper body. You can also use a kickboard to work your legs.
SWIMMING FOR FITNESS TIP #3: Try water aerobics or water walking/jogging. These workouts will tone muscles and are usually done in groups, adding a fun, social aspect to your time in the water.
SWIMMING FOR FITNESS TIP #4: Think about a Master swimming group. You don’t have to compete to participate in a club, but who knows? Once you’re in the swim of things you might just want to show off your stroke!
Article Written By: Julie Mitchell; Julie is an accomplished writer from San Francisco who loves ballet, yoga, walking, cooking and reading. Her experience as a wife and mother of two lend to her articles and blogs for DivaVillage.com and VillageMAMA.com in the areas of wellness, fitness, beauty, parenting and food.