- I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Swimming for Exercise
The warm weather months are nearing, and we are entering the time of outdoor activities and summer fun. Swimming is one of the most popular exercises for those hot summer days. It is also known for being one of the best ways to exercise for several reasons.
One of the reasons swimming is a great way to exercise is that it is non impact and supports weightlessness for the body. People who are overweight, pregnant, or injured will have an easier time exercising in the water, as opposed to an impact exercise such as running or walking.
Some of the things you may not know about swimming are surprising. Studies show that if you submerge your body in water colder than your body temperature on a consistent bases, you will have more body fat than that of an athlete that is a runner, bike rider, hiker, or any other sport done out of water.
The reason for this is your body basically uses fat to insulate itself from the cold water it is constantly submerged in. It is a protection from the cold. However if you use it as part of your cross training program (see blog on cross training), this should not be an issue.
Another thing that happens to us when we are in cold water for long periods of time is it will increase our appetite. Many of us who swim will feel very hungry after wards and will replace all of the calories burned during the exercise, and them some, by overeating after our swim. This makes it harder to get the fat loss that we are trying to attain.
If swimming is not the only way you are intending to exercise, neither of those issues should be a problem for you. Swimming is still a great way to get fit and have fun at the same time.
Swimming works the whole body. You can tone and define most muscles during a swimming workout. You will also have less stress and on your joints, due to the weightlessness in the water, so your body will feel more comfortable during the exercise than that of an impact sport.
Ocean swimming is a bit more challenging, but can be very invigorating and will give you amazing results. If you can deal with all that goes with the ocean; sea weed, fishes, salt water, cold temperatures, currents, and rougher waters, you will have a fantastic workout.
You can burn anywhere from 250 to 900 calories per hour while swimming. It will depend on your body weight, ability, and effort, that will determine how many calories burned. Obviously the more effort, the more calories you will burn.
So go to a pool, lake, or ocean to get a good workout in now that our warmer days are upon us. Don't forget your sunblock!!! Enjoy and have fun!