Swimming for fitness is a great form of low impact exercise. As we age, our joints need movement, but without the impact. Your effort invested in an hour of continuous swimming can result in burning between 700 to 1,000 calories. It really doesn't matter what level of swimmer you are, if you can swim for 60 minutes you are golden. Before you get wet, it is always recommended to consult your Physician before you begin a new exercise program.
Swimming two or three sessions a week provides ample rest and recovery time. The proper equipment will provide maximum returns for a minimal expense of your time, and financial resources, not to mention your overall physical well being. Your flexibility and cardio health are going to improve immediately.
Sixty minutes may seem like a long swim, but you can take a number of short breaks throughout the effort. Break just long enough to catch your breath. If you break too long, it allows lactic acid to build up in your muscles. Lactic Acid is a by-product of your bodies ability to turn food stores into energy, or the fuel you burn to swim. A sign you are feeling lactic acid is the tight and taxed feeling you will have when you stop moving, or in this case, swimming.
To combat lactic acid keep swimming, or do a light exercise of the same general muscle groups. Have you ever wondered why an Olympic Marathon runner keeps moving after he or she finishes their race? They employ a “warm down” to break up the lactic acid. Some like to express this feeling as "hitting the wall," or "the little man" is on your back. In any case, a light continued movement prevents a lactic acid side affect.
Swimming is a variety of strokes, or efforts you can employ to provide yourself with a challenging, and rewarding workout. The most common stroke is freestyle, however breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly round out the strokes that are most familiar. Sidestroke is also great, and don't forget kicking. Variety is good both physically, and mentally.
The most important ingredient is H20. The availability of a swimming pool is the key. Most communities have a YMCA, or Community Recreation Center equipped with a pool providing a designated lane or group of lanes for lap swimming.
Some facilities may even have an entire pool designated for lap swimmers. Mixing lap swimmers with bathers is not recommended. In either case you can surely find a like-minded group who has already worked out the details. Some groups are even known for their open water or lake swimming.
Everyone needs a proper fitting swim suit, or swim trunk. Fashion and friction are big factors to consider when selecting your suit. Chlorine will fade your suit, so be sure to rinse it with cold water after each swim.
A pair of properly sized goggles to prevent irritated eyes is a must. Chlorine! Be sure you find a pair that conforms to your facial structure. They come in various sizes and shades. Fashion is available, but the proper size and shading from your goggles can prevent a collision in the pool with other swimmers, or the pool structure. A morning or afternoon sun can blind you as you are getting ready to turn depending on the pools orientation.
Optional equipment includes a kick board, pull buoy, and a pair of hand paddles. Many swimmers also employ a medium length fin adding to their kick training. As with most things, improvements in training techniques, and equipment have resulted in both efficiency and big fitness dividends.
An organized team or swim group is the best way to stay committed. Usually such a group is always happy to welcome like minded fitness participants. You will be surprised how quickly you can establish new friends.
If you have been thinking of a new fitness experience or challenge, swimming provides a wealth of fitness dividends.
See you in the pool.