If you’re lucky enough to have your own swimming pool, what better way to get fit, than by master the sport of swimming.
Swimming has been scientifically proven as one of the most effective forms of exercise; this is because it works all major muscle groups, is a great form of cardiovascular exercise, and provides support for the joints meaning it is a low risk form of exercise with regard to wear and tear, particularly when compared to high impact classes such as step aerobics which, after a while, can damage the knees.
If you do have a pool of your own, it’s very important you keep check on the health of the water by ensuring an adequate supply of chlorine or similar. You will also want to invest in a decent water pump such as those supplied by onga pumps, as the quality and health of your water is vitally important. In this vein, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t wear makeup when in the pool, as this can not only impact on water quality, but can react with your skin and cause irritation.
The other aspect to consider, is entertainment, as swimming can be somewhat monotonous, yet today, with the invention of waterproof MP3 players you can listen to music or your favourite audiobook whilst you swim. This is a great invention, as previously swimming could not compete with the musical energy of aerobics classes or listening to Spotify as you run on the treadmill.
With regard to the sport of swimming, let’s now take a look at the three most popular strokes:
This stroke can improve your posture by extending your back and shoulder muscles, and is good to counteract the focus on chest contraction in the breaststroke – which could cause people to hunch over a little due to muscular imbalance; backstroke can therefore be a great way to correct posture and manage back pain.
You’ll want your body to be as flat as possible with hips up, as opposed to sunken down into the water. Your main challenge with this stroke is that you will be facing the ceiling the whole time; meaning you’ll need to identify a marker that lets you know you are coming up to the wall.
Freestyle, also known as front crawl, is good for stretching your whole body with a particularly strong focus on the upper body including your shoulders, back and arms… in addition to your major leg muscles and glutes.
This stroke requires you to be on your stomach, and as you pull your body forward with your arms in an alternate fashion, one at a time, your arms act like scoops pulling deep through the water whilst your legs kick in a flutter style to propel your body forward.
Whilst this style is best avoided if you have injuries such as tendonosis, it is a great all over workout, that provides significant toning opportunities throughout the whole upper body in addition to the lower back and even the abs. As the name suggests, the majority of the effort will be concentrated on your chest, arms, shoulders and upper back.
In summary, swimming offers a great all over body workout that is safe and effective for all.