Swimming As a Form of Cardio Training  

by Pool Builders on 08-03-2007 in Articles

Women who have been on a regular cardio routine for several months may inevitably look for something new just to keep their workout interesting.

Here's one cardio training that could yield immense benefits despite its low-impact feature: Swimming.

Swimming is the cardio exercise of choice especially during hot summer months.

It's safe, great for any age group, and is as beneficial as any other cardio because you're in motion the whole time. Fitness expert Eddie Carrington says that 20-60 minutes of repetitious movement in the pool works wonders for the heart and lungs (Jones, Ebony August 2006).

When you exercise in a pool, the routine you usually perform in your usual aerobics class can still be done, in addition to extra laps you might want to make. Swimming offers a lot of benefits that we don't normally get from our regular cardio training.

Some of them are:

1. Swimming is gentle on your joints, bones, and muscles. According
to the Aquatic Exercise Association, our body weights are
reduced by about 90% when submerged in water.

This means that instead of landing with 100% of our body weight
on a surface, we land on about 10% of our total weight, and that
means less stress on the joints which usually take a hard
beating at the gym.

This is the main reason why swimming is highly recommended for
those used to leading a sedentary lifestyle, the elderly, people
suffering from arthritis, and pregnant women.

2. Swimming is a superb alternative to cross-training. You can
alternate your days at the gym with swimming 2-3 times each
week.

3. Swimming improves flexibility and fortifies muscles. Because
you're surrounded by water while swimming, you work out with
greater resistance than when you do on land. Each stroke, each
kick keeps you in constant contact with resistance, and in the
process, your muscles are toned and developed.

4. Swimming facilitates an easy workout on muscle pairs.During
regular cardio training, we need to reposition our bodies to be
able to work out each muscle pair adequately (i.e., quads and
hamstrings; biceps and triceps). In swimming, you get to work on
both groups that function as pairs because of the extra
resistance created by the water.

What to watch out for

You may easily lose track of your cardio intensity while in water because you won't feel the "burn".

In fact, the heart rate actually slows down while you're in water.

Thus, it's not a good idea to monitor your heart rate while immersed, as you might unduly overwork yourself if you find that you haven't reached your target beats per minute (BPM).

Monitoring the intensity of your exercise while swimming is best done with the "talk test" - When you're out of breath and unable to carry on a conversation, you're likely going overboard. On the other hand, if you find you're a bit on the talkative end, then you need to work out harder.

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