Effective Swimming Workouts - Useful Facts You Ought to Be Aware Of

by Pool Builders on 01-10-2011 in Articles

Nothing beats swimming where total body workouts are concerned. It burns more calories (an estimated 500-700 calories depending on your effort), boosts your metabolism, firms your muscles and makes you lose weight. And while you can accomplish the same thing while running, only swimming allows you to do so without straining your joints or putting you at risk for injury. This is because water sorts of cushions your body so you don't have to contend with gravity as you do your laps. And yet, even while it does this it also acts as a resistance vehicle for your arms and legs so that with each kick and pull, you're putting more intensity and effort into your workout.

But swimming entails more than just jumping into the pool and doing the stroke of your choice. It takes a bit of getting used to, particularly where breathing is concerned since you have to train your lungs to do it rhythmically, unlike in strength training or running where you can take in oxygen anytime you feel you're already out of breath. Also, it takes coordinated movement of all muscles in the body to stay afloat on water.

If you're thinking on making swimming your workout of choice and you haven't been in a pool for quite a while, start slowly. Don't think even for a minute that you can do long laps even if water makes your body virtually weightless. The key to a successful swimming workout is to do short 25 meter strokes first. Because freestyle is most common and the easiest to learn, it's the preferred swim stroke for most workouts. To keep your routine interesting, you can also include backstroke and breaststroke.

Backstroke strengthens your back and shoulders, thus greatly improving body alignment and posture while breaststroke exercises the more often neglected muscles of the inner-thigh and hips. Proper form is important to get the most out of each stroke. In doing backstroke, keep your eyes focused on the sky and not on your toes. Doing the latter will cause your hips to sink and mess up your form. In breaststroke, kick your legs like a frog as you extend your arms forward and sweep through the water.

Incorporate at least 30-60 seconds of rest for every lap you finish. You can do 5 laps on the first day and gradually increase the number to 10 during your next swim. For starters, you can swim two to three times in a week for the first couple of weeks. As you gain more strength and stamina, gradually lengthen your laps to 50 meters with only 30 seconds of rest in between laps for more days a week until you can swim everyday. The more advanced swimmers can go for ten or more laps without stopping.

Before you swim, however, always make sure that you do stretching exercises. Failing to stretch your lats, quads, calves and triceps will make you more susceptible to cramps while you're on water. Do this for a good 15 minutes before diving into the pool.

If you want to enhance your cardiovascular function, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and improve your psychological health, nothing beats doing it on water. Swim!

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