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A swim a day:
easy to get hooked on to swimming. If you're a convert already, you know
how alive you feel in the water and how relaxed you are when you get
out. As you glide along, the water seems to massage your muscles and
clear your mind. Even after a vigorous workout, you feel refreshed and
relaxed. Many people like to start their day with a swim, while others
swim at the end of the day, letting the water rid them of accumulated
stress and tension.
Great exercise and
Swimming can be very demanding for the beginner. Exercise at a comfortable pace
and periodically check your heart rate to make sure you're staying in
your training range. It is recommended that beginners swim 12-20
minutes, building endurance with time. As you progress, you'll be able
to swim farther and faster at each workout, and the efficiency of your
strokes will improve. Intermediate swimmers should swim 20-30 minutes
and advanced swimmers 30-60 minutes. The freestyle, or crawl, is the
most efficient and strenuous stroke. A 150 pound person burns about 8.5
calories, a minute, swimming freestyle.
If you get tired, switch to a less
strenuous stroke, such as the sidestroke or breaststroke, or swim a few
laps with a kickboard. Swimming in sets - 4 laps freestyle, 4 laps
breaststroke, 4 laps backstroke, for example - will make your workout
more interesting and will exercise more muscles.
Kick with a kickboard or holding on to the side of the pool to tone
legs, back and stomach.
Leg lifts also condition legs, back and stomach.
Holding on to the side of the pool, lift each leg 10 times in front of
you, behind you and to each side.
Running in the water increases your heart rate just as swimming does.
Many people who can't run on land can run in the water without a
problem. Because of the water's resistance, the impact on your body is
far less. In chest-high water, begin by running with your hands on your
head, and as you become more fit, paddle with your arms. You can
alternate running with skipping, hopping, or even dancing in the water.
Bobbing up and down in the water improves breathing and muscle
Treading in the water improves arm and leg strength. Whatever your level
of ability, remember to cool down afterwards with water or stretching