Swimming Anyone?


Swimming is great exercise, especially if you don’t mind getting wet!

By FamilyTime

 

If you have access to a pool and if you don’t mind getting wet, even in cold weather, swimming may be the perfect exercise for you.

Maybe it’s a vestige of childhood, but there is something about swimming that fascinates many of us. It seems almost like playing hooky from “real life” when we jump in a warm pool, especially if it’s snowing or raining outside.

For most adult swimmers, swimming is far more than a frolic in a pool. It’s serious exercise that leaves us feeling better, looking better, thinking better, and being healthier overall.

How Does Swimming Help?

Swimming is great all-around exercise. It gives the heart and entire cardiovascular system a terrific workout. The harder you push against the water, the more resistance it offers. Even less forceful swimmers meet with serious resistance, which benefits the heart.

Beyond this, swimming is a good way to exercise stiff joints. Moving injured or arthritic knees, elbows, and backs in a pool filled with warm water is not painful. Best of all, the exercise provides relief for those aching joints and with time may ease the dry-land pain.

If you have recently had surgery or given birth, ask the doctor if swimming might be a sensible part of your recovery.

Where is the Pool?

Your town may have a municipal pool that offers “adult swim” times. If you live in a warm climate, this pool will be open year around.

Some gyms have pools, although very often the best place for one is the YMCA. Universities and colleges often open their pools to the public at certain times, and so if you live near an institution of higher learning, check it out.

Once you find a pool, you are more than halfway there.

What Do I Need?

Swimming does not require much equipment. Buy a comfortable and sensible bathing suit (a lot of ties and bows get in the way; bikinis are not as good for laps as one-piece suits).

You will need swimmers' goggles — try on a few before you buy them to make sure they rest on the bones of the eye socket and are not too tight. Double straps are better than single.

Many women like to wear bathing caps. They not only protect hair from chlorine, caps keeps it out of your face and help you move through the water more efficiently.

That’s it. Maybe a mesh swim bag, maybe even a waterproof mp3 player, but with a suit and pair of goggles you’re pretty much good to go.

How To Start?

Start slowly. Swim a few laps using whatever stroke is more comfortable. Most swimmers prefer freestyle, although they change it up with the breast stroke and the backstroke, and perhaps the butterfly.

Swim for about 15 minutes when you begin. It’s hard work and if you overdo, you might not like it. Build up gradually.

Vary the strokes and also consider jogging in the pool. This is a great way to make use of the resistance offered by the water to build muscle and exercise your heart.

Consider joining a water aerobics class, if the pool offers them. With a good trainer, you can burn a lot of calories this way.

Before you begin swimming, consult with your doctor.

Keep Going!

Keep track of your progress. If you can see how many more laps you are doing just a month after you started than you did in your first week, you may feel motivated to keep going.

Make a date with the pool. Three or more times a week is ideal. After your swim and your shower, you will feel so good, you may want to go four or five times a week.

Jump in. The water’s great!