24 October 2012

Swim Your Way to Fitness and Better Health

Posted by Jody under: Health .

With the kids returning to school and some resemblance of a schedule entering many people’s lives, now is the perfect time to add to our fitness routines. And what better choice than the addition of this highly beneficial and relaxing form of exercise: swimming.

Yes, you read that right. Swimming can be relaxing due to the fact that, even though you may be expending a lot of energy and burning calories while you’re doing it, the water supports the weight of your body and doesn’t subject your joints and bones to intense impact the way that many other sports or fitness programs do. In fact, if you swim regularly and vigorously, you will burn as many calories as you would while running, but with virtually no stress on your knees, ankles and hips.

Another benefit of adding swimming to your training regimen is that it’s a full-body workout. After a while, you will notice that, not only are you toning your legs, but you are toning and strengthening your abdomen, hips, chest and upper arms as well.

To top this off, your self-esteem will be given a boost. One reason for this is that, while in the pool, many women feel graceful and sensuous due to the fact the human body feels approximately one-tenth its actual weight in the water. Furthermore, as the pounds disappear and your body becomes leaner and more toned, self-esteem naturally increases as you begin to feel better about your body and self.

To make swimming a part of your fitness routine, you need to dedicate at least 20 minutes per session swimming at a consistent pace in order to boost your heart rate and burn fat. If you are not a proficient swimmer, begin with the crawl stroke (also known as “freestyle”). Keep your body in a streamlined position with your head leading rather than your chin. Although this will keep your face pointed toward the bottom of the pool, you will know to make your turn when you see the end of the black line in your lane.

Once you’ve mastered freestyle swimming, learn a different stroke such as the butterfly, back, breast or sidestroke. Adding new strokes to your training will make your workout more challenging and interesting, and it will also help you to increase the amount of calories that you burn. The best way to learn new techniques in the pool is by taking a fitness swimming class. Contact your local YMCA or fitness club for more information about classes offered near you.

And, remember, although the Olympic athletes make this sport look incredibly easy, with dedication and practice, it won’t be long until you swim like a pro yourself.

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