Swimming For Exercise

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Swimming For Exercise

You’ve probably heard that swimming is great exercise, but you may have never really taken the time to learn how to use it to your advantage. Here’s what you need to know.types of strokesThe main types of swimming strokes are freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly, and backstroke, with the butterfly being considered the most difficult by far.
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Swimming For Exercise

“Swimming is one of the best full-body, low-impact physical activities you can do,” says Jimmy Minardi, personal trainer and creator of Minardi Training. “It offers something no other aerobic exercise does—the ability to work all the major muscle groups without harsh impact to your skeletal system. Every kick and every arm stroke becomes a resistance exercise—which is the best way to increase overall fitness, strength, flexibility, and muscular endurance, enabling you to re-sculpt your body.”
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Swimming For Exercise

2. It’s joint-friendly. If you’re recovering from an injury and are eager to build strength, then look into starting a swimming routine to stay fit. If running is your passion, then swimming is a great way to work out on recovery days, granting knees a rest from the pavement.
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Swimming For Exercise

Look up and down the lanes of your local pool, and you’ll mostly see people swimming freestyle. Also known as the front crawl, freestyle is popular because it’s the fastest, most efficient stroke we have. It became known as freestyle because it’s the obvious choice for swimming events that are designated as “freestyle” events—where you are allowed to swim any stroke you like.
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Swimming For Exercise

If you don’t have a coach to put a workout together for you, tons of swimming web sites list workouts you can do. Some of my favorites are workouts for triathletes, since many triathletes started as cyclists or runners and are relative beginners at swimming. Their workouts, like the ones in this plan from Active.com, tend to be simple but effective.
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Swimming For Exercise

Once you’ve started swimming workouts, you’ll probably start noticing that you have room for improvement. If you get tired easily, the problem isn’t necessarily your endurance. In swimming, good technique is important so you’re not fighting against the water any more than you have to.
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Swimming For Exercise

Freestyle swimming, also known as the front crawl or Australian crawl, is basically what the name implies. There are no specific limitations on how your arms and legs must move; you just have to be sure to keep one body part above the water at all times (except for the first 15 meters at the beginning and after each turn). This is probably the most suitable style to use if you are just beginning and until you feel comfortable in the water. A 150- to 180-pound male swimming freestyle will burn between 500 calories an hour at a moderate intensity to 700 calories an hour at a high intensity.
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Swimming For Exercise

If the water is warm, swimming can even have a soothing effect on achy joints and muscles. If the weather is hot, swimming can keep you cool while you burn calories, shed extra pounds, and get in shape.
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If you have diabetes, an aerobic activity like swimming can be a very important part of your diabetes treatment plan. It will help you burn calories, lose weight, and keep your blood sugars under control. If you have high cholesterol, you will also benefit from swimming. It will help you lower your ”bad” LDL cholesterol and raise your ”good” HDL cholesterol.
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Yes, the treadmill is fun and so are those dumbbells, but it can be easy to get stuck in a workout rut. If you’re looking for a total-body routine that burns a ton of calories (and doesn’t involve having to brave the frigid cold in any way), give swimming a try. From toning your core to speeding up your metabolism, here are eight reasons why it’ll be your new go-to form of exercise—all year long.
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As with any type of exercise, you can choose swimming goals that you like, develop a plan to train toward those goals, and improve the skills and fitness you need to keep working toward your goal and having fun. But first, you begin by jumping into the pool.
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Swimming can be a solo or a group adventure. You may prefer to swim laps, if you like to work out by yourself. But if you like being in a group, many pools and Y’s have aquatic exercise classes for all levels. If you are older, pregnant, or disabled, there is likely a specialized class just for you.
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Sure, the exercise may seem like a hassle. You have to carve out a chunk of time in your day, find a pool and get your hair wet. But the benefits may be more worth it than you realize. Here are a few reasons you should give swimming a shot:
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Though it’s a low-impact workout, swimming produces high-power results. It is typically considered an aerobic exercise, but exercising in water also provides moderate resistance. This can in turn build strength, Women’s Health reported. 
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First, find a pool and gather up your gear. Most large public pools will have at least a few lanes available for lap swimming, and now that kids are going back to school, you’re a lot more likely to have the place to yourself if you go at a slow time. Make sure to check the pool’s schedule in case you have to plan around kiddie sessions or water aerobics classes.
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7. It maximizes your cardio. Swimming is the ultimate aerobic activity. There is more breath control compared to running, thus an increased demand for oxygen, causing your muscles to work harder. Because of this, you can get more bang for you buck in a short amount of time.
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To find out what goes into a good swimming workout, we asked Cokie Lepinski, head coach of recreational swim team Swymnut Masters. “Great question! It isn’t easy building a workout from scratch,” she said. When she designs a workout for her group, it includes four components:
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If you’re interested in competition, masters teams organize swim meets, and you don’t have to be an expert swimmer to participate and have fun. Or for a different kind of goal, you can look towards triathlon training or swimming-only endurance events, where swimmers do their thing in open water such as a lake. (Even so, they usually do most of their training in a pool.)
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The breaststroke, on the other hand, has a more defined pattern of movement. Your shoulders should be kept in line with the water, and your arm and leg movements should be coordinated to push together, performing the same actions. Your arms move out from your chest and around the sides of your body, and then back up along the center again to return to the start position (while your legs mimic the same movement). During the first stroke as well as after a turn, you are allowed one arm stroke and leg kick with your head in the water, but the remainder of the time, your head must stay above it. Swimming for an hour using this stroke will burn about 750 calories.

1. Focus on form: When swimming freestyle, look at the bottom of the pool, pressing chest down and keeping head, hips, and feet at the surface. If your head and chest are too high, your legs and hips will drop, creating drag. As you take a stroke, reach forward just under the surface, extending your arm from your shoulder when your hand enters the water. Pull the water toward you, then keep elbow high as you pull your arm back. Try to maintain a constant strong, fast, small kick. Begin by kicking from the hips (not the knees), keeping your ankles floppy and relaxed.
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If you don’t already know how to swim, there are classes at community pools, gyms, and YMCAs or YWCAs. It’s good to know how to swim, for safety’s sake, even if you aren’t planning to make swimming your main workout.
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If you are pregnant, the buoyancy of the water will take stress off your joints. If you swam before you became pregnant, you will likely be able to continue swimming unless you have a problem with your pregnancy. There are just a couple of things to consider. Make sure that the water is not too hot or too cold. And if the breast stroke worsens any existing pelvic discomfort, choose another stroke and talk to your doctor or midwife.
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Swimming is a great aerobic workout for people with most types of arthritis. It can take the load off your joints and help prevent injuries. It is also a good choice if you have low back pain. Warm water can be very soothing. Check with your doctor first if you are having joint pain, have had a recent injury, joint replacement, or are having an arthritis flare.
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For beginners, swimming can be a whole new animal, adding the element of oxygen restriction to a workout that already has a large focus on form and technique. And for intermediate to advanced swimmers, the choice is yours. Pool workouts can come in the form of high-intensity intervals or a more mellow experience. Ignore the clock, and those laps can feel similar to “a yoga meditation, going back and forth, staying parallel to the black line, losing yourself in your thoughts,” Freedman says.

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