swimming for exercise – Swimming for Exercise

Swimming for Exercise

swimming for exerciseWinter, spring, summer, or fall, swimming is one of the best ways to exercise year-round. Swimming is not only an important life skill and safety tool, also happens to be a phenomenal cardio and strength workout for individuals of any age.  Due to your buoyancy in the water, swimming and aquatics workouts offer a no-impact exercise so it is easy on your joints.

Swimming doesn’t always have to seem like a workout, either. In fact, recreational, non-competitive swimming indoors or outdoors burns more calories than you might think. According to an article from the Better Health Channel, “Swimming is a great recreational activity for people of all ages. Common swimming styles in recreational swimming are breaststroke, backstroke, side stroke, and freestyle.”

Swimming Techniques

If you’ve never learned the proper way to swim these 4 strokes, there are a variety of swim drills you can do on your own time in the pool to improve your swimming technique and improve efficiency. According to an article from Active, these drills include the following:

Single arm: Keep one arm in front while you stroke with the other. Think about reaching over a barrel with a bent elbow in the beginning to initiate a powerful pull.

Fist: Swim with your fingers closed into a fist. This drill helps promote elbow bending in the beginning of the pull.

Catch-up: This is an alternating single-arm drill. Wait for your hand to meet the other in front before pulling (touch and go) with the other arm. This drill works on your pull and rotation.

Finger-tip drag: On your recovery, drag you finger tips lightly across the water before entering for the next pull. This works on high elbow during the recovery.

Scull: On your stomach, with arms stretched out, place your palms together and thumbs up. Rotate hands so that thumbs are down (with hands apart) and move your palms outward while pushing water out just past shoulder width. Rotate hands to thumbs up and push water back in (almost a figure 8.) Feeling the water pressure with your hands and arms should move you forward in the pool. Keep your face in the water during the drill, raising your head to breathe while kicking.”

The above techniques can be incorporated into your swimming routines in order to help you get the most out of your workouts. So next time you’re going for a swim, try one of them out! For more info on swimming drills for each stroke from Active, click HERE.

swimming for exercise

How Swimming Works

According to an article from WebMD, swimming strengthens your core, arms, legs, glutes, and back while offering flexibility, aerobic, strength, sport, and low-impact workouts. “You’ll get stronger from the resistance of the water, which is about 12 times the level of air resistance” (WebMD).

In addition, according to Better Health Channel, swimming can help:

  • “keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body”
  • “builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness”
  • “helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs”
  • “tones muscles and builds strength”
  • “provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of your muscles are used during swimming.”

With all of these great benefits from swimming, don’t you think you should try incorporating it into your workout routine?

Swimming at the Y

If you do not feel comfortable in the water and/or would like to learn to swim, the Y also offers a variety of swim lessons for youth and adults! Swimming is both a great workout and a safety necessity. Whether you’re swimming in a pool for fun, or out in open water, it’s important to learn this important life skill for both your well-being and others.

Lap swimming provides a full-body workout in and of itself, but there are also a variety of water fitness classes offered are your YMCAs that target different areas and muscle groups. For more information on Aquatics Programs at your local YMCA branch, click on the links below!

Emily Sanville, Digital Communications Coordinator

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