Swimming has long been considered a great way to get fit and improve your cardio vascular performance. It is a great low load bearing way to get healthy that is suitable for all ages and just by learning you are making beach holidays safer for you.
Who is it good for?
Everyone! But in particular it is important for very obese or large people. As the water is load bearing it takes the strain off the joints and allows you to move using the water as your resistance. Water aerobic classes are very good and will help get results very quickly, especially when led by a good instructor and combined with a good diet. They are also fun with like minded people, so don’t be put off!
The pool is also very good for people with disabilities, but obviously under strict supervision. Because of the load bearing qualities it allows them to move their muscles and bodies much more freely than in other situations. Physiotherapist have used the water to train people for a long time and the benefits have been documented for ages.
Children should all be taught how to swim properly. It is a great life skill and they will have fun in the water and be safe as well. Being able to swim well could not only mean they save their lives but someone else’s as well. It gets them using their muscles in very controlled conditions and gives them a very healthy head start in life. Adults who were bought up swimming are more often than not healthier than adults who led very sedentary lifestyles as children.
What to do?
You can just stroll down to your local gym or sport centre and jump straight in and paddle along feeling good about yourself and you can go home with your head held high knowing that you have done your body some good. Not entirely true. Yes, you will get fitter but by just going up and down at your own pace the benefits will reduce quite quickly and before you know it you are just wasting your time.
How to get the most from your swim
Before you just jump in it is a great idea to get some really good one-on-one instruction to tweak your stroke to a better more efficient technique. They will teach you how to swim the strokes correctly and how to breathe correctly during the stroke. By learning how to swim properly you will be able to give more in your swimming sessions thus burning more energy and getting you better physical results. Not learning to swim properly would be similar to walking on the treadmill and never improving to a jog. If you are interested in improving your swimming technique then pop down to your local pool and find out about lessons for you age range or one-on-one lessons. As well as this please visit this great swimming website to give you more tips and pointers in the right direction.
Swim for longer
Another way to continue to see improvements from your swimming is to increase the length you swim each time. For example if the first time you go you can only do 2 lengths before you need to rest then the next time try and increase it to 3. By pushing yourself harder and further each time you will work your body harder and continue to see good results. If you can swim 20 lengths non stop then increase it to 25 or aim for 30. Just make sure you keep pushing yourself as just turning up and doing the same number of lengths each time isn’t going to challenge you body enough.
There will come a point when you will run out of time and just adding more lengths is not a viable option for you. Another way you can increase the effort on your body and therefore maintain the benefits from the exercise is to time yourself. For example if you are able to swim 20 lengths non stop then time yourself and each time try to better it. Adding a little self competition is a great way to keep the effort levels up and get those all important health benefits coming in.
If you swim using the same stroke every time then the body will get use to it and again the benefits to your health will dwindle. So if you do breast stroke every time change it to front crawl or back stroke. By changing the stroke you change the way the muscles are used and challenge them more than a stroke that your body has become use to.
Swimming is a fun way to get fit and healthy and hopefully from this article you have picked up that the body needs variety and overloading, meaning to be pushed so that it is not just a relaxing swim but you push yourself every time. To give you an idea just how hard you have to push, use the perceived rate of exertion (PRE) scale. It is a 1 to 10 scale where 1 is absolutely nothing and very easy and 10 is you are about to pass out and throw up! Whilst swimming you want to work to a 6 or 7, where it feels like a push, you are out of breath at the end and the muscles feel achy but not painful. The 6 to 7 is the equivalent to working at 60 to 70 % of your maximum heart rate and this is a good level. As you get better and stronger you can certainly take it up a notch and go for an 8 out of 10.
Let me know how you get on and if you get any visible improvements to your health and body. Good Luck and all the best.
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