Just Keep Swimming

SwimThere is something about swimming that I have always loved. It is just something so peaceful about being able to glide through the water. And as a bonus, it is also a great workout. Because of these reason, swimming has been one of my “go to” workouts since I swam on my high school swim team.

Swimming serves as a great workout alternative for just about anyone (that knows how to swim, of course). Whether you are training for a marathon or triathlon, coming back from an injury or just looking to add something new to your workout routine, hopping into the pool just may be what you need.

Additionally, swimming is beneficial because it can serve as both cardio and strength training. And because it is low impact, it is easy on the joints, which is great for people that are injured or still sore from a previous workout. In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that swimming is better the body than taking a “rest day” for exercise recovery.

Swimming is also great for the lungs, which is beneficial for runners. It can also help the body use oxygen more efficiently, which can help a runner’s performance.

And while the gear you need is minimal. Here are a few suggestions if you want to amp up your workout in the pool:

  • Swimsuit: While you can swim laps in just about any swimsuit, I’d recommend that women wear for a racing suit (like this one) this way you don’t have to worry about your straps falling down every few strokes.
  • Goggles: Make sure that they are comfortable; don’t let water in or fog up. My favorite pair since my racing Gogglesdays is the Speedo Sprint
  • Swim cap: You can go without a swim cap, but if you have long hair, or hate when it gets in your face—a cap is the way to go. I wear the silicone caps because they are more durable and last longer than latex caps. It also hurts less when taking it off.
  • Swim GlovesSwim gloves: Aquatic fitness swim gloves make your hands
    look like they are webbed and are beneficial if you want to increase your resistance with each stroke.
  • Pull Kick: Using this kickboard/pull buoy combo is perfect when you want to isolate the arms or legs by only kicking or stroking. I use it in every swim program that I do (see below).
  • Swim Fins: Swim fins or flippers not only help you improve body position and technique in the water, but it also helps increase your fitness and cardiovascular conditioning.
  • Music: I’ve always said that if I was able to have my music while I swam, I’d never get out of the water…well my dream has come true. Underwater Audio waterproofs iPod shuffles and sells them with waterproof earbuds. My birthday is coming up and this guy is at the top of my list.

And if you are looking for a swim program to get you started, here is one that I use:

Tip: Print out the swim program and put it in a ziplock bag or laminate it, so you can keep it close without worrying about it getting wet.

200 yds. Warm up, easy, even strokes
100 yds. Pulling, freestyle. Squeeze a pull buoy between upper thighs and swim only with upper body (no kicking).
2 x 50 yds. Moderate/hard in 40 to 50 seconds.
1 x 100 yds. Moderate in 2 to 2:15 minutes.
2 x 50 yds. Moderate/hard in 40 to 50 seconds.
1 x 50 yds. Easy in 1 minute.
2 x 100 yds. Moderate/hard in 2 to 2:15 minutes. For the first 25 yards, breathe every 3 strokes; second 25, breathe every 5; third 25, breathe every 7; fourth 25, breathe every 9. Repeat sequence.
1 x 50 yds. Easy in 1 minute.
2 x 50 yds. Sprints with fins.
4 x 25 yds. Cool down. Flutter kick with kickboard and fins. Do first 25 yds. slow, next medium, then fast and very fast.
100 yds. Easy. Count arm strokes every 25 yards, trying to reduce stroke count with each lap.

What are some of your favorite exercises in the pool? Share your workouts with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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