The warm weather is finally here, and for many this is just the right time of year to migrate to your backyard pool, community pool or lap pool and build your swimming fitness. Swimming is a great way to complete a full-body workout with no impact to the joints while enjoying the benefits of burning calories and increasing metabolism.
If you have been away from swimming for awhile, you will want to get back at it slowly and build into a reasonable distance (yards or meters) or reasonable time frame. Swimming will demand your muscles use more oxygen. Your breathing pattern in the water is also completely different than on dry land.
3 B’s of Swimming
The following 3 B’s of an effective and efficient workout are critical no matter what your experience or level of swimming ability:
- Be Relaxed: A relaxed body is a more efficient body moving in the water. As we move we create drag and resistance so our movements need to be smooth, not like we are trying to wrestle the water.
- Breathing: Your No. 1 source of fuel is oxygen. You should have a steady, consistent breathing pattern as you rotate your head out of the water and a deep exhalation as you rotate your head into the water.
- Body Position: This includes buoyancy and balance. Swimming is all about minimizing drag and resistance. A better-balanced body will move through the water easier and with less effort. Are we a speed boat or a tug boat?
Structured Swim Workouts
A well-structured swim workout has the capacity of burning 500-800 calories an hour. Incorporating interval style workouts with a work/rest ratio along with some drill work and kick sets helps to create a variation and enjoyable workout experience.
The density of water makes it the perfect resistance workout while adding no impact to joints. It doesn’t take much to get going. The ability to kick and rotate your shoulders and hips will pay incredible dividends as it starts to tone the entire body.
Swimming is something you can do every day. And because of the known benefits and low impact, it is something you can do for your entire life.
Joel Stager, Ph.D., Director of the Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming at Indiana University, indicated that their research shows that “habitual swimmers are biologically up to 20 years younger than their actual age” and that can’t be a bad thing!
He also stated, “Everything from blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cardiovascular performance, central nervous system along with cognitive function has the potential to be affected in a positive manner.”
Here is a great Freestyle Workout to get your started:
- 4 x 25 yard swim @ :20s Rest Interval: Swim one length of the pool. Rest interval is for 20 seconds. Repeat for a total of four times
- 2 x 50 yard swim @ :20s Rest Interval: Swim one full lap (starting wall and back). Rest interval is 20 seconds. Repeat a total of two times
- Cycle through this set four times for a total of 800 yards.
If you are still feeling good at the end, add in 4 x 25 yards of kicking with a kickboard. This will give your legs an exceptional workout.
Not a bad start to your summer. And as you become more comfortable and your aerobic engine gets stronger, you can add additional yards to your workout.