Your journey to a healthier you can be achieved through a variety of paths! There really is no “best” way other than the path you will stay on for the longest amount of time. It is important to find a way of staying active that is not only fun but also fits your own personal lifestyle and time allotment. For many people, the road to fitness may not be a road at all, but a pool!
The Benefits of Swimming
Swimming can be a great way to spark a boost in your metabolism with several benefits over other types of physical activity. Odds are if you are someone who is overweight, you are already dealing with a lot of joint pain. Why compound that with bone-jarring jogs around a pavement jungle or high impact movements with weights? This may only lead to more pain or even worse, an injury!
If you are injured, then you aren’t going to be hitting the gym for very long. Water is a great way to combat the added pressure of gravity on your bones and ligaments while also forcing you to utilize a large variety of muscle groups that you likely would not engage during a normal free-weight workout. As an added bonus, you get the luxury of a constant refreshing splash of water during your workout! During good weather, the added stimulus of being outside in the sunshine during your swimming routine can be just the excitement you need to stick to your new found exercise regimen for the long term!
The only question now is, why haven’t you started?
Top Swimming Tips
First, consider what goals you have in mind. Are you aiming to simply expend more calories and burn some stubborn body fat? Cardiovascular training is a great way to boost the heart rate and get the metabolism burning through those calories that you are consuming that are keeping those inches around your waist line. However, running on a treadmill can be boring and very taxing on your knees and ankles. Instead, why not swim some laps in the pool? No joint pain, no heavy impact, and more than likely your heart rate will rise to an even higher level because of how taxing it can be to swim especially if you are a beginner.
Instead of only moving your legs, you now have to incorporate nearly every muscle in your body to propel yourself from one end of the pool to the other! This means cardiovascular endurance training and a full body workout all-in-one!
Try This Swimming Routine!
For a great high intensity cardio swimming routine to burn some extra calories, give this a try: after some light stretching and movement to get the body warmed up, enter the pool and find a way to keep some track of time. This could be a nearby clock, a stop watch, a water-proof wrist watch, or something similar. Begin your workout by simply swimming from one end of the pool to the other.
If this is too challenging at first, mark a place about half way and swim that distance. Now, stop and rest for 30 seconds. Keep track of your rest time with the time piece of your choice. After 30 seconds has passed, swim back to where you started. Rest 30 seconds and repeat. Are you feeling the burn yet? Each round of swimming one stretch followed by a 30 second rest period counts as one set. Repeat the process for 5-10 sets, depending on your ability.
Remember, the idea is to progress over time so be realistic with your current conditioning and allow yourself room to grow! For the first workout, aim for a mild goal of 5 sets. Find your pace and get a feel for exercising in the pool. Next time, give 6 sets a try! Each time you complete the workout, set a goal of adding at least 1 more set to your routine. Slowly progressing over time is the best way to build a more conditioned body as well as increase the amount of calories you are burning so that they pounds keep falling off the scale!
If you find over time that swimming laps has become a little too easy and you need more resistance, look into a variety of tools created just for swimming fitness! Things such as water dumbbells and wrist or ankle weights can be a great way to add even more resistance to your time spent in the water. The key with swimming fitness is similar to that of any fitness program; always strive to improve and do more work over time! Progression is vital to getting the results you want!
As previously stated, the best way to get fit is the way that you enjoy the most. Running and weight lifting isn’t for everyone, and that is the reason that almost every gym has a variety of different equipment. If you are lucky enough to have access to a pool in your area, take a dive and try a new kind of exercise that maybe you did not consider before! The cool inviting water may be just the motivation you need to complete a fitness program day after day and achieve the goals that you have set out for yourself!