A Watery Workout

It is one of those rare Summer days, clear blue sky devoid of a single cloud.  The temperature is up to 24 degrees and it would be even more perfect if I was sat on the edge of a pool, dipping my toes into the cool inviting water.

This time of year, is a great time to start a swimming exercise regime.  Why?  Well it always seems more appealing during the better weather and hopefully once you get the “passion” for this form of exercise, you will continue during the rest of the year.

Swimming is a great all round exercise and is ideal for anyone wanting to become more active and to stay healthy.  This is something that is open to everyone, whatever your age and ability.  For the majority of the population, swimming is a safe and effective form of exercise, but if you are worried about your own health then please see your GP prior to starting.  Regular swimming can significantly reduce the risk of chronic illnesses; type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and keep your weight under control.  The pool is an ideal place to work stiff muscles and sore joints especially if you are overweight or suffer from arthritis.  Even better that the pool is heated which will further help loosen stiff joints.  People with rheumatoid arthritis receive greater benefits to their health after participating in hydrotherapy more than other activities.  It has also been proven that water based exercise decreases pain from osteoarthritis.  Because swimming is an aerobic exercise it also helps to strengthen the heart.  Unlike exercising in the dry air of the gym, swimming provides the chance to work out in moist air which can help reduce exercise-induced asthma symptoms.

Swimming is a great way to increase muscular strength and muscle tone.  A swimmer has to propel themselves through water, that means that every kick and arm stroke becomes a resistance exercise which is the best way to tone.  Swimming has also been shown to improve bone strength especially in post-menopausal women.  To improve your flexibility, finish off your pool workout with a series of gentle stretches.  The water will support you and help you to maintain positions that require balance.

If you cannot swim then it is never too late.  Most pools will offer lessons for a variety of tastes and abilities, ladies only, parent and toddler groups, plus group/private lessons for different age ranges.  Please do not worry if you are afraid of water because a beginners’ lesson will focus on teaching you to become confident in the water.

It isn’t only swimming that gives you a great workout in the water.  Aqua Classes are still as popular as they have ever been.  Aqua Aerobics, Waterobics, Aqua fit, (there are many names), are a great way to mix up a traditional workout with the benefits of working out in water.  You will start to see a big difference in your overall fitness after only a few sessions.  The top benefits of these type of classes are that the water supports the body, putting less stress on your joints and muscles.  Working out in water helps prevent overheating which is ideal during pregnancy.  Plus working out in the pool is fun!  If you ever observe a class, you will see that they are all smiling and enjoying themselves.  There is a variety of sessions offered, anything from Aqua Pilates to the energetic Aqua Jogging.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because exercising in water is softer on joints, then it is a softer workout – that is not the case.  You will still need to take a drink, for the side of the pool, even though you are surrounded by water, you still need to stay hydrated.

So, if I have “wetted” your appetite for a new exercise regime then get down to your local pool and see what they have to offer.  Me, well I am off to fill up the paddling pool, I cannot wait any longer 🙂