Swimming your way to fitness  

by Pool Builders on 04-14-2009 in Articles

For anyone looking to get fit there are a multitude of options, but while many people start fitness regimes with the intention of improving their health - particularly in the dark month of January after all that holiday excess - many of these start enthusiastically only to stop within the space of a few weeks.

The simple truth is that making exercise part of our routine is the key to long term fitness and that starting gently, while it may seem we are doing little, will help build that routine while avoiding the danger of injury.

One of the best forms of all round exercise is swimming, an all year exercise that can be enjoyed in the pool, in the sea or in a lake or river. Once the art of staying afloat is mastered the swimmer can enjoy the feeling of being in the water, while the body's buoyancy means there is far less stress on the body that exercises such as running.

In the pool most people simply swim lengths and you can choose whether to swim for a set amount of time, or a number of lengths. This is excellent for cardiovascular health and after just a few regular sessions in the pool you'll notice that you find it easier, can swim further and for longer without stopping.

If you've never learned how to swim you should take lessons at your local pool to learn the basics, but after that it is simply a matter of swimming length after length. At first you'll need to take a break after each length or two, but as your fitness improves you'll find that you need to stop less.

In the sea most people spend some time splashing about to cool off as well as swimming, which also has benefits on your health. When the sun is shining it can be pleasant just to float on your back, the salt content of seawater giving greater buoyancy than the pool. Remember to cover in high factor sun cream to avoid sunburn and take it easy on the first few days of exposure to the sun though.

Also remember to take care in the sea - always follow the lifeguards' advice and never swim if a red flag is being shown. While the sea may look calm, there may be dangerous currents - a rip current will carry you directly out from the shore and out to sea.

Although there are some dangers associated with swimming, the same is true of other sports. As long as you are sensible and don't swim in dangerous situations or outside your capabilities you'll be fine - and if in any doubt then avoid the water.

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