Reasons to Take Up Swimming for the Fall & Winter Months

Posted by Beth Hartman

Now that the weather is changing and those hot summer days are beginning to fade, there is no reason why you need to pack up your bathing suite till the next summer season. In fact there is a great reason why NOT to!! You may or may not know that swimming is one of the best exercises you can do.
If you look, you will probably find that a lot of gyms, health clubs and don't forget the YMCA all have pools. This makes for year round access to the water, where studies have found, swimming is probably one of the best all-around means to aid in getting you fit. The water acts as a semi-resistant medium that puts some slight strain on your muscles to perform the way you want them to. Add in the benefits of the water making you a bit buoyant and someone who has trouble standing for long periods of time can actually perform better in the water!

Swimming not only aids in increasing your muscle strength, but since it a public part of the gym, or other facility, it also helps your social life as you can be amongst like-minded individuals. Also, swimming is a great way to help bring down your stress level. Swimming really can make a huge difference to your body mentally and physically.

Below are some reasons you should start taking up swimming today! Remember, just cause the sun-shade umbrellas are all put away, doesn’t mean you can't still take advantage of the benefits you’re going to reap from swimming on a regular basis.

How Swimming Up’s Your Exercise Game!!
If you don’t love working up a sweat but do love the benefits of a cardio workout, swimming may be your ideal match.

The water keeps you cool, even as your heart gets a great workout. You’ll probably be able to keep yourself going for a longer time than if you were running. That’s because it’s fun and gentle on your joints and muscles. The water can also feel relaxing. Remember, I said above that it can lower your stress levels??

To get the most out of this regimen, plan on doing 2 1/2 hours of swimming a week. Or mix in swimming with other cardio workouts. You can set your own pace, going as fast as you like.

If you don't already know how to swim, there are classes at indoor community pools, gyms, and YMCAs or YWCAs. It's good to know how to swim, for safety's sake, even if you aren't planning to make swimming your main workout.

Intensity Level: Medium
You’ll use your lower and upper body muscles for a steady workout. You can make your swim harder by going faster or longer.

Areas It Targets
Core: Yes. Swimming gives your entire body a great workout, including your core.
Arms: Yes. You’ll need your arms for most swim strokes, so expect them to get a workout.
Legs: Yes. You’ll use your legs to propel yourself through the water.
Glutes: Yes. Swimming uses your glutes. Like we said before, swimming offers a whole body workout
Back: Yes. Your back muscles will get a workout, whether you’re doing the backstroke or a water-based exercise class.
Flexibility: Yes. Swimming will make you more flexible. The more you work at it, the easier it will be to use your extremities and you will begin building up those muscle groups by repetition.
Aerobic: Yes. Your heart will keep pumping as you use your entire body to move through the water. Again, this is one of the big reasons most seniors take up swimming or water aerobics. Even though it’s easier on them because of the buoyancy of the water it still provides enough of a resistance to work that heart muscle and give you a good cardiovascular workout!
Strength: Yes. You’ll get stronger from the resistance of the water, which is about 12 times the level of air resistance. Try using hand-held paddles, foam noodles, or a kickboard for extra resistance.
Low-Impact: Yes. Swimming is an excellent low-impact workout. The water gives you buoyancy, so you’ll float through your exercise session without putting pressure on your joints.
Good for beginners? Yes. You may not be able to swim for a full workout (30 minutes or longer) right away, but you can work your way toward a longer workout. Start slowly, with 5-10 minutes of laps.

Equipment required? None, except for a swimsuit. Goggles and a swim cap are optional. To mix things up, you can add small accessories to your water workout, like kickboards or swim noodles. When you get proficient in your swimming workouts, it might be a good idea to purchase an activity monitor that is water resistant. As you progress your going to want to set new goals for yourself and the best way to do that is to monitor your progress. A good monitor to do this is the Garmin Vivoactive Smartwatch .The vívoactive features built-in sports apps that track your stats, even when away from your phone. Simply tap to choose among GPS-enabled running, golfing and cycling apps plus swimming and activity tracking.

If you are looking for a great aerobic and total body-strengthening workout, then look no further. Swimming can provide all that and more.

Swimming can be a solo or a group adventure. You may prefer to swim laps, if you like to work out by yourself. But if you like being in a group, many pools and Y’s have aquatic exercise classes for all levels. If you are older, pregnant, or disabled, there is likely a specialized class just for you.

Swimming is a great aerobic workout for people with most types of arthritis. It can take the load off your joints and help prevent injuries. It is also a good choice if you have low back pain. Warm water can be very soothing. Check with your doctor first if you are having joint pain, have had a recent injury, joint replacement, or are having an arthritis flare.

If you have diabetes, an aerobic activity like swimming can be a very important part of your diabetes treatment plan. It will help you burn calories, lose weight, and keep your blood sugars under control. If you have high cholesterol, you will also benefit from swimming. It will help you lower your ''bad'' LDL cholesterol and raise your ''good'' HDL cholesterol.

If you have been a couch potato, or you have heart disease or other medical problems, check with your doctor first to see what kind of swimming program is right for you. So don’t let that cooler weather keep you out of the water. Join a club or the Y and see just how much better you feel after a few weeks of getting yourself wet while the leaves are starting to fall and before that first flake drops!

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