Does your fitness club or Y have an indoor swimming pool that you have never used? Swimming is an excellent aerobic exercise that builds flexibility while incorporating muscular strength and endurance conditioning, all important components of a complete, safe and effective exercise plan. Take a break from the old routine and add some variety to your workout by swimming laps a couple times each week this winter. Not only is working out in the zero gravity environment water provides easy on your joints, it’s an excellent cross-training option.
Before diving into a beginner swimmer workout plan, check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for swimming. If you have a hard time swimming a full length of the pool, sign up for a swim class to learn some basic stroke technique to get you ready to swim laps and build your endurance.
To protect against injury or muscle strain, warm up with slow and controlled dynamic stretching through the full range of motion and follow up with a few easy laps of front or back crawl. If you're practicing your stroke in shallow water or taking a swim lesson, it’s still important to warm up. Try flutter kicking while holding onto the side of the pool or walking briskly in chest deep water as you swing your arms at your sides.
Get the most out of your time in the water with some conditioning outside the pool. Skipping rope, seated rowing and squats use many of the same muscles you’ll use in the pool. Add some crunches, sit-ups and leg lifts to help strengthen those core muscles, important for maintaining the right position in the water.