As anyone who has jumped head first into a serious workout routine can attest- sometimes being over aggressive with your workout can backfire. You see this a lot around New Year’s when everyone floods the gym to get back in shape but quickly stop trying after the first few weeks. This is especially true for strength training and long distance running activities. Your body needs time to work up a base for these type of traditional workouts.
For those of us that want to be able to work out hard from the get go, while maximizing our calorie expenditure. Swimming can be a great alternative workout that reduces your chance of injury. The water essentially neutralizes gravity, so you are almost completely weightless when you are in the water, giving your joints a much easier task of moving your limbs without your full body weight.
Swimming helps burn calories, lose weight, while putting little stress on your body and joints.
Unlike traditional excerise routines that target a specific muscle group on alternating schedules, swimming is a total body workout that is great for your cardiovascular system. Swimming is perfect for weight loss and toning your body due to the amount muscles recruited during the exercise. A brisk swim can average around 500 calories per hour. If you push yourself into a more vigorous pace, you can easy burn upwards of 750 calories per hour.
We don’t recommend trying to swim nonstop at first. Training in the water requires your cardiovascular system and lungs to adjust to a new way of breathing. This makes getting started not a straightforward as it may appear. Plenty of first timers jump in thinking they can swim for 45 minutes straight, only to give out in less than 10 minutes. To give your lungs and body time to adjust, interval training is a great way to get acclimated with your new workout surroundings. In the long run, this is of benefit to you as HIT training has been shown to give better results than straight endurance sessions.
The Total Body Workout
Building lean muscle is an often overlooked aspect of swimming routines. Since water is 800 times denser than air, every movement you make in the water is a resistance workout for your body. This is crucial for your core to develop properly and swimming is great for increasing strength in the upper body.
By building lean muscle as you swim, your metabolism kicks into to overdrive long after you have left the pool. Swimming regularly will also help improve your overall health can is believed to help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
If you are a beginning swimmer, we recommend swimming three times per week for no more than 20 minutes. These shorter sessions will allow you to maintain your form throughout the workout rather than allowing fatigue or ruin your technique. It will also help you build on your base fitness level and set the groundwork for longer, endurance sessions in the future.