Swimming is great

Photo: phoenix.fanster.com

Yesterday I promised I’d follow-up my swimming is hard post with some “expert” swimming info and workout ideas. Would I lie?

In my humble opinion, it seems a lot of people tend to shy away from swimming as exercise. I don’t know, maybe it’s the whole getting into a bathing suit thing. Women love that. Or the whole getting wet thing. That’s problematic too. Committing to a swim is more involved than a dry land workout. You have to get your suit on, your hair gets wet, you have to shower and change afterward. As someone who tends to spend a lot of time with dried sweat on my face and damp workout clothes on my body, going for a swim involves a lot more pre and post preparing.

But really, really, it’s a great workout. A few reasons why:

  • it’s easy on your joints–in fact, the Arthritis Foundation recommends swimming and water activities, and they sponsor water classes all over the country.
  • it’s a full-body workout–water is about 12 times more dense than air, so you are working against a lot of extra resistance as you move your body. One thing to note, however, is that despite working most muscle groups, swimming does not replace strength training. Swimming is primarily a cardiovascular exercise, so you still need to strength train to improve bone density and muscle mass.
  • it’s helpful for those recovering from an injury–people with orthopedic concerns due to injury or excessive body weight can really benefit from water workouts. It’s a great way to start moving or keep with an exercise program if you are unable to sustain your workout on land.

Types of swim workouts:

  • aqua aerobics classes–check your gym or local YMCA for class listings. There really is something for everyone, and if you don’t think you can get a great workout, you are way wrong.
  • solo swimming–if you already know how to swim, just hop in the pool and get strokin’. Check out this site for some workouts and drills.
  • U.S. Masters Swimming–to learn more about this organization or to find a Masters Swim group in your area, check out their website, here.
Hopefully I’ve provided enough information to pique your interest about swimming, and some resources to get you started. Or, if you’re already a swimmer and you want to improve your form, you’ll check out the drills I’ve linked to on the “solo swimming” bullet above. Drills are a fun way to challenge yourself, and add some variety to your time in the pool.
I’d love to hear some swim stories from readers. Tell me, have you found your fitness passion in the pool? Did swimming get you through a tough injury? Do you love your weekly aqua class? Do you have any crazy skinny dipping stories? I’m open to those too.

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