The best total-body workout around

A quick search reveals that there are countless workout routines that target just about every muscle group and body part that you wish to work on.  But what if I told you that there is a total-body workout out there that is actually kind to your body and your joints?  Swimming in a pool can actually target all of those desired areas at once while still providing minimal damaging impact to your joints.

No other workout can burn calories, boost your metabolism, and firm every muscle in your body, while putting decreased stress on your joints the way swimming can.  Swimming helps you burn fat and trim inches because of the metabolism ignition.  It helps you be stronger, fitter, and, ultimately, healthier than any other workout.  The water itself acts as a built-in resistance workout for your core, glutes, hips, arms and shoulders specifically, as you have to work to stay afloat and above water.  Additionally, the water almost “cushions” your joints against impact and injury.  In fact, swimming is often used as a form of physical therapy.

Body firming and shaping from a swimmer’s workout occurs from the calorie burn and through the recruitment of muscles throughout the entire body.  Relatively speaking, an easy swim will burn about 500 calories per hour, while a more strenuous swim will burn a minimum of 700 calories per hour.  According to Joel Stager, Ph.D, from the Center for the Science of Swimming at Indiana University at Bloomington, “you can swim almost every day without risking injury. You can’t say the same for running or strength training.”  A swimmer’s blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cardiovascular performance, central nervous system, and cognitive functioning are all comparable to someone far younger.

To begin a swimming routine, remember to not get discouraged.  It’s common to feel exhausted and like you’re hanging on to the edge of the wall the first couple times, as a workout in the pool is nothing like a land workout.  Training in water requires your cardio and muscles to work differently than they do on land.  In addition, your lungs have to adjust to a different way of breathing since you are used to breathing whenever you want to.  In the water, you would inhale a lot of water if you didn’t adjust your breathing techniques.

Nevertheless, your body will adjust in no time and allow you to use swimming as your go-to workout for full body benefits.  To start, swim 4 lengths of the pool at an easy effort.  Rest 30 seconds and repeat this 5-10 times.  Use this routine 2-3 times a week for 2 weeks before you increase your intensity and frequency in the water.  When you’re ready to move forward, try this workout from Women’s Health Magazine for even greater results from the water.

What is your favorite stroke to use in a swimming routine?

Photo credit: AirmanMagazine

Kristin Coppens

About Kristin Coppens

Kristin Coppens is responsible for BCBSM coverage of the West Michigan, Northern Michigan, and Upper Peninsula regions. Kristin is a writer, social media enthusiast, and information junkie. A self-proclaimed foodie, techie, and political nerd, she is a dedicated promoter of Grand Rapids community development, urban engagement, arts, healthcare, wellness, supporting and buying local, entrepreneurism, and the city as a whole.
 
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