Swimming to Fitness - Tips to make it count  

by Pool Builders on 10-17-2010 in Articles

Deciding to get fit is one of the most daunting, and exciting decisions you'll make. And guess what? A swimming pool is one of the most valuable tools you can use to smash your weight loss goals. In this beginners guide we tell you everything you need to know to improve your fitness with swimming.

Start small, build up: If you're new to swimming, you may find even a lap exhausting. If you haven't swum for a while, try two laps and see how you feel. If you're using a home pool, swim the equivalent laps of about 100 metres, and resist pushing off the wall because in a small pool this will take you the lions share of the length, decreasing your kilojoules burning. Don't push yourself too hard, but set moderate goals each week and work towards them. Increase the length you swim regularly slowly, by no more then 10% at a time once you're swimming 15+ laps. Your speed is a good indicator to how you're going.

Understand what swimming adds to your fitness plans: Swimming is more like yoga and a swift walk then a long job. Swimming helps you tone up and raises your heart rate gently. Swimming is great for weight loss because it strengthen and grows your major muscles groups in your arms and legs, which will continue to metabolise better after the exercise. If you both run and swim, you'll see the best results because swimming will get your muscles chugging along like your pool pump, and running push those gains further. Swimming is excellent if you're pregnant, ill or recovering from injury.

Use swimming to complement your other exercises: Many new exercises forget to warm up and cool down well, so they injure themselves, nipping their fitness goals in a bud before they've seen any results. If you've stretched a muscle running, try swimming with just your arms, holding a kick-board or floatation device between your knees. This way you keep the cardiovascular fitness gains and give your injury time to heal. Make sure your pool cleaner cord is tucked out of the way, or out of the pool so you don't get caught.

Measure and track your progress: Keep a record of how many laps you swum, and how tired you felt afterwards. We recommend you give your tiredness a rank out of ten, say 8/10 for "very tired" and 2/10 for "could've done a few more laps". When you get to 2 or 3, add a few more laps to your schedule. This will help you stay aware of your improving fitness. Because swimming is so good for muscles, your weight may go up a bit, but the lap and tiredness ranking is the best way to make training decisions.

Improved fitness takes a healthy diet and regular exercise, and including swimming as part of your regime is a sure way to tone up, lose weight and be super confident at the beach, in the water or on the shore.

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