Swimming and Water Workouts Build Fitness and Health:

Fitness: A few swims a week does wonders for your body and your heart. Swimming is great year-round exercise if you have suitable swim facilities.

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Fitness and Health

Swimming and Water Workouts Build Fitness

By Chris Wilson

Fitness:Swimming can be night or day; swimming can be with or without children; swimming can even make a family vacation a time to exercise together.

The role of fitness in health:

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It’s summer. It’s hot. I’m pounding the pavement. My kids are at the neighborpool, swimming and cooling off.

I’m thinking, "Who needs this aggravation? I’m sweating already. Can I putup with this all summer?"

I also realize that if I quit for the warm months–like I did last summer–I’llfeel more tense and my weight will begin to creep back up.

So, what can I do to stay fit and cool this summer?

A water work-out, of course. I am going to swim my way to fitness!

Water itself is cool and relaxing.

It supports me, adds natural resistance that helps tone and strengthen themuscles of my body, and will help heal any muscles I strain by working in the yard, anight of dancing–at the insistence of my wife, or other exercise…

In fact, we can all work out this summer without pounding the pavement,sweating, or contorting our bodies. We’ll see the results of our exercise more quickly because muscles have to work harder inwater.

So, I’m convinced. It’s the pool for me this summer.

Here are some other facts to convince you!

1. You do not need to be able to swim to benefit from water exercises. You doneed to inhale with your face in the water. Any sustained stroke (dog paddle) for swimmingback and forth across the shallow end of the pool will suffice for aerobic exercise.

2. If you can swim, however, vary your strokes to work different muscle groupsand to allow you to swim longer. If you can’t swim 20-30 minutes straight, work-up to thisby swimming for five minutes, then resting for one minute.

3. And the "expensive equipment" necessary to start swimming islimited to a bathing suit and a friend who lives in an apartment complex.

4. Parents can take older children swimming while working out–as long as theycan swim unsupervised, of course, because you will be distracted.

5. Swimming is easy on your joints.

As with all exercise before you swim:

  • Check with your doctor first.
  • Warm-up before each water work-out.
  • Stretch out after each swim.

With water exercise:

  • Remember to protect your skin with a waterproof sunscreen.
  • Check out the pool and the water depth before you begin, especially if you are a poor swimmer.
  • Realize that your maximum heart rate is about 13 beats per minute slower when swimming than with other exercising. If you monitor your pulse rate when exercising as you should, keep this in mind.

More information about health and fitness issues

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If you want instruction for further work-outs, join the "Y," find ahealth club with a pool or access to one, or check the classes in your city’s park andrecreation department. Water exercise does not need to be expensive and the facilities donot need to be elaborate. Look for a pool that:

1 Is clean and safe 2. Has a large shallow area3. Has hours that fit your lifestyle4. Is relatively uncrowded at the times you need to use it.

You may want to consider a personal trainer to get you started.I havealways considered a trainer money well spent.

See you poolside this summer!

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