Running and cycling can hurt your knees. Hiking is hard on aching feet. Still, you want to exercise. What are your options for a fitness regimen?
Many who study these things are of the opinion that swimming is one of, if not the best overall exercise you can find.
Dive In. The Water Is Perfect.
Go ahead…dive in. One of the first things you’ll notice is that your knees don’t have to pound the pavement, and your feet will hardly feel a thing.
Swimming is easy on the anatomy. It’s low-impact, and the only thing providing resistance is the water.
In short, swimming delivers a phenomenal cardio workout, builds strength, and develops lung capacity. Then there’s the benefit everyone who swims for exercise will cite — you get a great workout, and you don’t sweat.
Competing In The Pool
In 1828, an indoor swimming pool in England opened to the public. By 1837, competitive swimming had caught on, and pools around London hosted competitions sanctioned by the National Swimming Society.
We’ve been exercising in the water ever since.
By 1904, the Olympic Games in St. Louis included a slate of distance events not too dissimilar to what you’ll see in today’s Olympics; however when it came to the types of swimming strokes, the events were dominated by the freestyle.
By the late 1920’s, alternative strokes like the backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly were part of the mix.
Your Sweat-Free Exercise Regimen
It is possible that one of the greatest hurdles to incorporating swimming into your regular exercise routine is finding a pool. Explore the usual suspects — local health clubs and community centers, and even some continuing education centers have pools.
Once you’ve found the water, you’ll need the gear. The best tip here is to be comfortable. If you’re planning on practicing your 200-meter freestyle and building up your lung capacity, you’ll want swimwear that doesn’t drag water.
Add a swim cap if you want to protect your hair. And you’ll definitely need a pair of goggles.
Now you’re ready to dive in.
As is the case with any workout, you should plan to spend some time warming up. Dive in and go at it hard without warming up those muscles, and you’ll regret it later. Spend about 10 minutes doing some type of warm up — a slow crawl, an easy backstroke, or even a little water jogging. It’s not an exotic exercise or elegant stroke, but it will prevent cramping and soreness.
The heart of your workout will depend on your goals. If you’re working out for cardio improvement, consider a regimen that might include a few laps freestyle, and then switch to an alternate stroke. When it comes to fitness, multiple strokes will work on different parts of your body.
Add a couple of laps with each new workout.
Moving in the water will deliver an amazing workout. If you’re interested in improving your technique, consider seeking out a swim coach.
And if you’re ready for some competition, many communities have Masters swimming programs through Universities or Community Centers.
When you climb out of the pool you’re going to notice two things: nothing hurts, and every part of your body feels completely exercised.
And oh, yes…you won’t be sweating!
Check out this video about freestyle swimming to learn more: