by Jessica Remitz
With the official start of summer just days away, you’re likely to be squeezing in as many workouts as possible to stay bikini-ready through Labor Day. Rather than sweat it out at the gym or a yoga studio as the temperature heats up, hit the pool deck for the one of the (literally) coolest and best ways to strengthen your muscles. Get the details on why swimming is so good for you and how to start a routine, below.
The Health Benefits of Swimming
A great aerobic exercise for experienced pros looking to get back into the pool or beginners hoping to get in shape for the summer, swimming is great for toning and strengthening the entire body while keeping your joints healthy and releasing stress, said Equinox personal trainer and triathlete Jamie Morales.
Swimming torches calories by providing a total body resistance workout that lengthens your muscles and increases your flexibility. By using your arms, legs, and core to move through the water, you’re increasing muscle tone and bone strength, according to Discovery Health. And, unlike running or walking, exercising in the water is ideal for working out stiff muscles and sore joints, especially for people who are overweight or suffer from arthritis. Swimming can also provide the same stretching and relaxation exercises as yoga, and is an excellent complement to any cross-training routine.
“Swimming can strengthen the cardiovascular system necessary for sports like running or cycling,” Morales said. “Cross training is key to keeping a strong, healthy body and swimming is one of the best modes of exercise for it.”
Starting a Routine
There are a variety of exercises to do in the pool, from using a kickboard to trying out different strokes (like freestyle or the breaststroke) and using the edge of the pool to provide resistance. Morales recommends starting beginners with a kick board to learn and master kicking and body rotation and progressing to one arm stroke drills and lap swimming from there. The number of calories you burn swimming will depend on your body physiology and the intensity of your work out, but interval training, like building up from swimming 50 to 300 continuous yards with 10 seconds of rest in between each distance, can help boost the number of overall calories burned, according to Discovery Health. Here are some additional poolside and water workouts to try, courtesy of Morales:
Beginner Swimming Routine #1
- 30 seconds of flutter kicks with your hands on the edge of the pool and your feet in the water
- 30 seconds of triceps dips on the edge of the pool
- 30 seconds of upright breaststroke kicks without the support of the pool edge
- Repeat each exercise three times
Beginner Swimming Routine #2
- 30 seconds of marching or jogging in the water
- 30 seconds of jumping jacks in the water (let your feet touch at the bottom of the pool and push off from the pool floor kicking both legs sideways and bringing your arms up and overhead)
- 30 to 60 seconds of cross county skis—alternating your arms and legs from side to side as if you were cross-country skiing in the pool.
- 30 to 60 seconds of crunches on the pool deck
- 30 to 60 seconds holding a plank position on the pool deck
- Repeat each exercise three times
Find more beginner swimming workouts to build your endurance, develop your swimming technique and improve breathing here.
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