YOU Magazine - August 2012 - Go Swimming! Your Guide To a Water Workout
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Brent Prockish Team at Total Lending Concepts
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Go Swimming!
Your Guide To a Water Workout

Go Swimming! - Your Guide To a Water Workout

There are two types of people, those who exercise on a regular basis and those who don't do it nearly enough. Regardless of the category you fit into, swimming is an exercise that can benefit everyone...and summer is a great time of year to get started. So, grab your swimsuits and head for the water. We're going swimming!

Why Swim?
Swimming is primarily an outdoor activity, something that all of us can use a little more of. There's something rejuvenating about enjoying a little sunshine and fresh air while exercising your body. The bonus is that once your workout is finished you're already at the pool or the beach. Now all you have to do is relax.

On a more scientific note, swimming is a whole-body low-impact exercise, which makes it perfect for everyone. It is a great way to increase range of motion for all the major muscle groups without placing undo stress on joints and ligaments.

Aside from building strength by moving your body through the resistance provided by the water, swimming is also a cardiovascular exercise. As long you have access to a pool, it is an inexpensive and effective way to either cross-train or rehabilitate your body.

Getting Started
As with any form of exercise, we recommend having a physical examination performed by your family physician to determine if you are healthy enough to partake. Once you've received a clean bill of health, the next step would be to procure a comfortable swimsuit, swim goggles, and earplugs. Depending on your skill level, a small foam kickboard and fins may also be a good purchase. The good news is that all of these items are relatively inexpensive and can be found at almost any sporting goods store.

For those of you looking to improve your swimming ability, you may want to find either an adult swim coach, or a Master's swimming program (a national organization dedicated to all levels of adult swimming) in your area. Both options are great for improving your technique and breathing, two of the more important aspects of swimming. YMCAs as well as aquatic centers are great places to start your search.

If swimming is your introduction to regular exercise, we recommend you start by improving your vertical strength and core strength through various exercises performed at the shallow end of the pool. Walking and jogging in waist-deep water are two such examples.

The Workout
The type of swim workout you choose should directly reflect your overall fitness level and your skill as a swimmer. There are several websites that offer personalized workouts based on this information. One that we like is Registration on this site is free, but it does require you to answer a few questions based on the aforementioned criteria.

Before finding your workout on, we first recommend you measure the length of the pool where you will be doing the majority of your swimming. Since most workouts are broken down and measured in meters, having an idea of your pool's length will allow you to convert the meters into laps.

The following workout is from and is just one example of a great workout for a beginning swimmer:

Duration: 30-45 minutes
Distance: 900 meters
Pool Length: 25 meters

Warm Up (repeat 2 times)

  1. 1 x 25m Freestyle Swim (even pace).
  2. Rest 10 seconds.
  3. 1 x 25m Breaststroke Swim (even pace).
  4. Rest 10 seconds.

Build Up (repeat 3 times)

  1. 1 x 50m Single-arm with kickboard and fins (6 x left, 6 x right). This is a freestyle swim using one arm at a time. Complete six arm strokes with the left arm followed by six strokes with the right. The not-stroking arm holds the kickboard out front and swaps with the stroking arm every six strokes.
  2. Rest 10 seconds.
  3. 1 x 50m Freestyle Kick with fins. This is freestyle kicking using a kickboard and fins. Grip the front edge with both hands and rest your forearms on the board. Your chin should just touch the water.
  4. Rest 10 seconds.

Core (1 time)

  1. 4 x 50m Freestyle DPS (Distance Per Stroke). Concentrate on long, efficient strokes and a high streamlined body position to reduce drag in the water. Count your strokes per lap, attempting to reduce your strokes with each lap.
  2. Rest 20 seconds.
  3. 4 x 50m Freestyle Swim.
  4. Rest 15 seconds.

Warm Down (1 time)

  1. 1 x 100m Easy Stroke. Swim your choice of stroke at a slow, relaxed pace.

A Few Last Tips...

Wear Your Sunscreen:
Just because you're in the pool the entire time doesn't mean your body won't be exposed to the sun. Be sure to wear a waterproof sunscreen with at least 30 SPF while swimming.

Even though most swim workouts include some sort of warm-up phase, it does not mean you should just jump in the pool and start swimming. Be sure to stretch outside the pool for at least 10 minutes before starting your workout. Doing so will not only help prevent injury, it will also maximize your performance.

Swim With a Partner:
Just like many other types of workouts, swimming is best when done with a partner. Swimming in pairs will increase your motivation and ensure your safety.

We've given you the tools and information to get started. All that's left is to go swimming!

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