Image by: tpsdave
By Robert Spencer
For a lot of us, we associate “working out” with a chore. It’s something that is good for us and that we have to do, not something that we choose to do for fun. However, there are plenty of fun workouts that can make exercise fun. We just have to find out what that is for us.
For example, swimming is a great way to exercise. It is a legitimate form of exercise; Indiana University researchers compared recreational fitness swimmers with non-swimmers and found that the swimmers (of all ages) had more lean muscle and trimmer hips. It helps you burn fat, works your core, helps your muscles stay lean and fit, and it is also a lot of fun. You get to be in the water (especially in this summer heat).
#1) What’s So Great About Jumping in the Water?
So how does it work? Swim workouts help burn calories and also results in muscle recruitment. Even the easiest swim can burn about 500 calories an hour. The water works the same way resistance bands do. When you’re in the water, your muscles have to push against the resistance of the water.
The cool part is that you can work out in the water, even when you can’t work out on dry land. If you’ve got joint problems which cause you to stop running or working out because of the pain, you can feel free to work out in the water. Water neutralizes gravity so when you jump in, your joints won’t be under all of that pressure when you’re on dry land.
That’s one of the reasons why people of all ages love to work out in water, because it doesn’t hurt, it’s refreshing, and it’s still a workout. Kids love to splash around and swim (which decreases their chance of childhood obesity), adults love it because works your muscles and burns fat, and older adults love it because it’s a workout that doesn’t hurt (think water aerobics).
When you work out in water, the most effective swim work out is done when you split it into short segments. Work in a variety of rest intervals and mix up the kind of swim workouts that you do in order to vary the muscles that are working. It also makes your workout more interesting.
#2) Different Strokes for Different Folks
Different strokes works different sets of muscles. For example, a breaststroke uses your hip and inner-thigh muscles while a backstroke works your back and shoulder muscles more. So when you’re swimming use different types of strokes with each lap or follow some of the examples listed below.
Beginning swimmers may prefer the backstroke and the sidestroke because both of those don’t require that you breathe out underwater. If you want something a little more challenging, try the butterfly and freestyle strokes during your exercises.
#3) Starter Workout
This will test out what you can do and it will also be a great transition into working out in the pool. Try this a couple times a week for the first two weeks. If you’re not a great swimmer or if you haven’t been swimming in a while, use a swimming aid (like a kickboard) for the first four lengths.
Swim four lengths of the pool. Do so at a moderate level which just raises your heart rate. Catch your breath at the wall (if necessary) then repeat between five to 10 times.
Now it’s your turn. Do you swim for exercise or for pleasure? What swim workouts do you do? Have you noticed a difference after starting a swimming routine? We’d love to hear from you! Write your thoughts, ideas, and questions in the comments section below.