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Swimming pools aren’t exactly associated with losing weight and getting into shape. Most people think about swimming as a fun and casual physical activity which can’t replace a regular gym workout. However, this isn’t exactly true; swimming can make you as fit as any other workout if you do it on a regular basis. It strengthens all muscles and it’s easier on the joints than land-based exercises of a similar intensity are. There is also evidence that swimming boosts the metabolism and helps with mental health as well.
How does it work?
Water is 800 times denser than air, which makes every move you make in it a resistance workout for the entire body. This means that you’re not only burning calories, you are also building a muscle mass which in turn ignites the metabolism, helping you burn even more calories. An hour of swimming, depending on how vigorous your technique is, can burn between 500 and 700 calories. Swimming also reduces blood pressure, cholesterol levels and improves cognitive functions. This means that there is no age limit to water-based exercises. In fact, recreational swimmers look like they are 20 years younger.
Choosing the right swimming technique will determine how long you will need to work out and how tired you will feel after a swim. If your goal is to lose as many calories as possible in a short amount of time, the butterfly is the best stroke for you. It will burn up to 150 calories in 10 minutes. The freestyle stroke is the next best thing and it’s perfect for beginners because there really isn’t that much to it. The breaststroke and the backstroke are basically equivalent to jogging for the same amount of time without putting pressure on your knees and joints.
It often happens that a person starts swimming in the hope of getting good results fast. They also get pretty discouraged if something is not going according to plan. For instance, if you feel exhausted after a five-minute swim, there’s a good chance you won’t be coming back the next time. It’s important to point out that this is a serious workout and it can take time and effort to really reach your full potential. Start by swimming 10 laps. Make sure to take a minute break after each session and don’t add more than four sessions each week.
Keeping up the schedule
Like with any other exercise, it’s important to develop a workout plan and stick to it. Make the plan varied and focus on different types of exercises every day. It’s best to update the schedule every month and increase the speed or distance every time. Having your own backyard pool will definitely make you stick to the plan. Choosing fiberglass pools is the most affordable option and it’s also a reliable and safe way to go if you plan to do some stretching or light exercises by the pool.
Once you’ve got the hang of things, there are numerous ways to expand and improve your training. So-called interval training is the most popular and effective approach. It consists of increasing the workout intensity for a while and then taking the time to relax before doing it again. For instance, swim one lap as fast as you can and the next one at a regular pace. You should start doing this only when you’re comfortable with swimming for 30 minutes without breaks and if you don’t have any serious medical issues.
Swimming is relaxing, fun, and in the same time, a great way to lose weight and get in shape. Stick to your plan and the results will show pretty quickly.