Many people who work hard to include cardio into their workout and routines walking, running or cycling seem like the most obvious choices for a heart healthy workout. Of course this is true, but if you’re not adding a dose of water to that mix you’re missing out on some incredible cardio benefits.
Time spent at the pool is not just for summer anymore, and many people are realizing the incredible things that swimming does for the body. If you’ve eschewed the pool as child’s play, or believe that it’s not as effective as other cardio activities, then you’re missing out on a fun, thorough, and intense workout that can and will help you reach your fitness goals, with some other surprising results.
Have a Heart
If you’re cycling or running at an intense level, then you’re likely already getting the maximum in a cardio workout. However, if you’re walking or running at a more moderate pace, adding lap time at the pool can really bring your cardio workout to the next level. You’ll want to make sure that your swimming technique is correct and that you’re swimming often enough, so a brief consult with a swimming instructor can let you know if you’re on the right track.
With cardio workouts, it’s important to measure the intensity of your workout by how hard your heart is working. Knowing how hard you’re working is something many people don’t’ know how to gauge. Adding a heart rate monitor from HeartRateMonitors.com can help you know if you’re on the right track for optimum cardio fitness.
Flexibility Is Key
One of the best things about swimming is the fact that most pools are heated. Not only does this keep swimmers comfortable, it has added exercise benefits, as well. The warm water helps muscles to relax, which means that you’re increasing your flexibility with each swim. Your muscles warm up more quickly and you’re able to stretch them much more quickly and efficiently.
If you’re a cyclist or a runner, consider a quick swim after your other workouts. This will help stretch your tired muscles and help prevent soreness and possible injury.
Increased Strength and Endurance
Because swimming uses every muscle group in the body, it’s the perfect workout for increased strength. While swimming is not going to build bulky muscles the way that weightlifting can, it does create long, lean muscles that help to boost overall metabolism. While most of the muscles involved in swimming are located in the upper body, specialized swim classes and techniques shift the work to the leg muscles, thus engaging the entire body.
Swimming is not as intense a workout as cycling or running, so a swimmer can maintain his or her pace for longer periods of time, which builds endurance. Again, this is a win for your heart health, but it also allows for an increase in calories burned.
Because It’s Fun
If the obvious health benefits aren’t enough to convince you to jump in the pool, think about how much fun swimming was when you were a kid. None of that has changed, and swimming is still the most fun you can have while getting fit.
There are a number of swimming clubs located all over the country, and the social aspect of these clubs makes membership worthwhile. Many clubs also organize outings to local lakes or beaches during the summer months, and swimming in open water can add a whole new spin to your workouts. Also, working out with a team of other dedicated swimmers can keep you motivated and help further your fitness goals.
One of the best ways to keep yourself focused on your fitness goals is keep your workouts fresh and diverse, and to add an element of fun. Swimming accomplishes those things and then some. If you’re looking to change up your workouts, jump into a swim routine; you’ll be glad you did.