Come on in. The water’s fine. And swimming offers a great option for keeping fit.
Among the benefits of swimming are building cardio-respiratory fitness levels and muscle strength or mass, depending on the swimming strokes; weight management; keeping you well-toned; and more.
Swimming is also ideal for many people, since it offers a low-impact exercise option. Additionally, swimming is a great way to stay fit for those with weight, injury or weakness problems, since the water offers buoyancy.
A good rule of thumb to follow when swimming for fitness is to work out at least two or three times a week. If you’re new to swimming or haven’t been swimming for a while, then start with 10 to 15 minutes at a time, building up to 30 minutes and then to about an hour. Be sure to warm up with stretching or some slow laps before and after your workout. Also, you may want to consider a salt-water pool over a fully chlorinated pool, since chlorine can be problematic.
Here are some swimming strokes to add to your swimming routine:
Sidestroke: The sidestroke isn’t a highly taxing stroke, so it’s a good one to add to your regimen. You can also typically go a longer distance with the sidestroke.
Freestyle or front crawl: This stroke is helpful for stretching your entire body, including your shoulders, back, biceps, triceps, quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.
Backstroke or back crawl: Helpful for extending back and shoulder muscles—and for good posture—the backstroke is a good stroke to incorporate into your swimming workout. One caution: watch out for the edge of the pool!
Kickboard laps: Use a kickboard and strengthen your kick strokes or use this style to take a bit of a break between more difficult, faster laps performed without using a kickboard. Using a kickboard is also a great way to get you started on swimming for fitness, since you can do quite a few kickboard laps before getting tired.
Other strokes: You can also do the butterfly stroke, breaststroke or even the “dog paddle” to add to your swimming fitness routine.
So, dive in and try swimming for fitness.
In order to avoid risk of injury, please seek advice directly from your physician, especially if you have existing medical issues, before beginning any exercise or nutritional program. Also, be sure to stretch after exercise to avoid muscle and joint tightness.