Swimming Fitness Program
If you have sore, stiff joints, starting a swimming fitness program can help you stay in shape while avoiding joint pain. Better yet, the cool water can help soothe your entire body, making it an ideal way to relax after a long, exhausting day. To get the most from a swimming program, make sure to utilize the following tips:
- Make sure to have the proper equipment. Form-fitting, one-piece swimsuits are best for exercising; two piece swimsuits are usually not appropriate as workout gear. Make sure it fits properly and doesn't feel too loose. Loose swim clothing can slow down your speed or lead to embarassing, revealing clothing mishaps while swimming. Consider purchasing goggles as well, which will enable you to see better in the water.
- Start slow. Don't try to dive into an intense program right away, unless you're already a seasoned pro. Taxing your body with intense exercise too quickly can stress out the heart and lead to workout injuries. Try exercising in the pool for 30 minutes two to three times a week. Some organizations, such as USMS.org, also recommend swimming for up to 30 seconds to start, taking frequent breaks until you build up your stamina.
- Increase the exercise gradually. After becoming used to 30 second spurts in the water, increase this time by 10 percent every week. Do not dramatically increase the time, as this can lead to injury. Any kind of swimming will do here—simply swimming around the pool, doing backstrokes or doing a doggy stroke are all effective for burning calories, strengthening the heart and building muscle.
- Add resistance to it. Once you are able to easily swim for 30 minutes a day, consider adding ankle weights to build up more lean muscle tissue. Kickboards are also good for training the legs.