How To Swim to Stay Fit In 3 Steps

By Subodh / April 30, 2013

If swimming around the pool seems boring to you, consider swimming to stay trim this summer. Water aerobics, dubbed waterobics, is a hot new way to stay fit. It’s an easy, creative way to get your body in motion without having to sweat a single drop.

1. The Warm Up: Water Walking

According to the Mayo clinic, a good first step is by trying water walking. Aquatic exercise is a low-impact activity that helps take pressure off your bones, joints and muscles. It’s incredible successful for overweight people, as the water can work with their body while exercising.

To increase resistance, move yours hands and arms through the water. The clinic encourages people to wear hand webs or other resistance devices for additional resistance. Water shoes can help maintain traction in the pool. But for you beginners, don’t feel like you need to rush into all the equipment. Your body will be enough for you to work with. Once you’ve become experienced with water exercises, feel free to move to deeper water. Then, you can add hand webs or water weights to your workout.

The Mayo Clinic says people should avoid walking on their tiptoes and to keep their backs straight. You’re also encouraged to tighten your abdominal muscles to avoid leaning too far forward or to the side.

Swim to Stay Fit

2. Toning

The great part about exercising in the water is that it is as effective as lifting weights, but it puts far less pressure on your joints.

If you want to work on your back and shoulders, do water pull-ups. You do this by grasping the side of the pool, lowing your body as far as your arms will allow. Bodybuilder.com writer Maia Appleby suggests that you keep your knees bent, exhale and pull yourself up as high as you can.

If you want to work on your triceps, the site also suggests you stand straight, with your hands open and palms down on the surface of the water. Keep your elbows locked at your sides, exhale and push down until your hands are beside your hips. Turns your hands and bring them back to the starting position.

For those who want to workout the biceps, you should stand with your back to the side of the pool and hold onto the rim with your elbows. Keep your knees unbent, slowing bring both legs up to a standing position and hold it for 10 seconds. Appleby says you should not hold your breath. Breathe slowly throughout the exercise. Then bend at the knee, bringing yourself down. Remember to keep your back straight. Repeat.

For more water exercises, go to http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/maia3.htm

3. Stretching

If you can stretch on land, you can do the same in the water.

“When you’re finished with your toning, hold the side of the pool with one hand, stand on one foot, bend the other knee and grasp your ankle with your free hand to stretch your quadriceps and hip flexors,” Appleby said. “Hold the side of the pool with one hand and turn your body by pointing your toes away from the wall to stretch your biceps and pectorals.”

Benefits

Swimming provides effective weight management, according to the University of Akron. Depending on your weight, if you weigh between 100 to 200 pounds, you could burn an average of 250 to 520 calories in half an hour of swimming. However, with water aerobics, you can burn between 400 and 500 calories per hour.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also rave about the benefits of water-based exercise. Swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United Sates, and according to the CDC, swimmers have half the risk of death compared to inactive people.

Water-based exercise can help people with chronic diseases, including arthritis and osteoarthritis, as it helps improve use of joints without worsening symptoms. Doctors also recommend hydrotherapy as it maintains bone health of post-menopausal women. The same can be said for mental health. The CDC says that, “for people with fibromyalgia, it can decrease anxiety and exercise therapy in warm water can decrease depression and improve mood.”

“Water-based exercise can improve the health of mothers and their unborn children and has a positive effect on the mothers’ mental health,” the CDC continues. “Parents of children with developmental disabilities find that recreational activities, such as swimming, improve family connections.”

Also, keep in mind that you are not a fish. Be sure you are hydrated before you enter the pool, and you should consult your physician before you sign up for this type of exercise.