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Swimming in the summertime

Swimming in the summertime
Swimming in the summertime
John Pinter

There are several things that come to mind when you hear the word "summer"- fun, beach, pool are probably a few of them. One thing that most people won't argue is that when it's scorching hot out, a dip in the pool or ocean is the perfect way to combat the heat. So if you're going to be spending a lot of time in the water, why not make the water work for you?

Swimming is an excellent way to get your daily dose of exercise. Not only does swimming work your entire body, but because water is about 800 times denser than air, you work harder and burn more calories. According to swimming.org, even a gentle swim can burn over 200 calories in half an hour. A fast front crawl can burn as many calories as an 8 mile-per-hour run.

If you are not a swimmer, don't let the water intimidate you. There are plenty of water exercises you can do that are just as effective at burning calories and toning your body. Treading water, for example, can burn as much as 590 calories an hour for a 130 lb. person. According to fitnessmazine.com, the water creates continuous resistance which works more muscle fibers, therefor giving you a more thorough workout. Exercising in water can also prevent overheating through continuous cooling of the body. It is not only aerobic, but also strength-training oriented due to the water resistance.

Lots of fitness clubs have an aquatics program, also known as water aerobics, for people who do better in group settings and/or need guidance on types of exercises and proper execution of these exercises. Joining a program like that is a great way to help get you started in the water.

Either way, utilizing the water as a form of exercise is a terrific way to stay fit and improve your health. In addition to calories burned, it's low-impact- so people with arthritis, joint problems and/or other medical issues often turn to the water because it isn't weight-bearing, making it the safest form of exercise.

NOTE: Make sure you get medical clearance before trying any new exercise or activity, and/or if you are starting a new workout regimen. If you feel abnormal pain or discomfort, stop and contact your health care provider.