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by Karl Connor Fitness Articles

fitness & training articles

Swimming Is for Everyone
Get Fitter by Swimming - Anyone can do it.

Swimming is a good fitness choice for just about everyone, especially those who have physical limitations or who find other forms of exercise painful.

It is a good, whole-body exercise that has low impact for people with arthritis, musculoskeletal, or weight limitations. Water's buoyancy accommodates the unfit as well as the fit. Water cushions stiff joints or fragile bones that might be injured by the impact of land exercises. When immersed to the waist, your body bears just 50% of its weight; immersed to the chest, it's 25%-35%; and to the neck, 10%.

Athletes use water to rehabilitate after injury or to cross-train. People with arthritis or other disabilities use water to improve fitness and range of motion and to relieve pain and stiffness.

Swimming is also desirable for people with exercise-induced asthma, as the warm, humid air [around the pool] causes less irritation to the airways.

Fitness Benefits

Not only is swimming easy on the body, it's a great way to get fit. Swimming recruits all the major muscle groups, including the shoulders, back, abdominals, legs, hips, and glutes, she says. And because water affords 12 times the resistance as air in every direction, it really helps to build strength.

It's cardiovascular and strengthening at the same time, and not many workouts have that.

Can swimming help you lose weight?

There are some questions about how efficiently swimming burns calories. Research done on swimming showed that weight loss seemed more difficult. The theory is that the water submersion initiates a complex [nerve pathway] to lower metabolic rate." And with a lower metabolic rate, the body uses fewer calories to maintain normal function.

These explanations need further research, but it is clear that swimming can be a great weight loss -- if you follow the same principles as with any other exercise.

For weight loss, interval training is the most effective method in which you push yourself hard for short spurts, and then drop back to a less-intense level of exercise. If you don't do interval training, it's just like doing a slow walk.

If you're a beginner, start slowly. Try to swim for 10 minutes. Build up to a 30-minute workout, three to five times a week. Include a warm-up and a cool-down, and, in the middle, challenge yourself by working on endurance, stroke efficiency, or speed.

There's more than one way to tackle swimming. Before you feel comfortable putting your face in the water, you can practice drills with a kickboard, or even walk the length of the pool.

A comfortable swimsuit and a pair of goggles are all you need to start, say experts. You can even wait on the goggles if you're not ready to put your face in the water yet.
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