Swim Workouts: Benefits and Exercises to Lose Weight
One of the most important things to understand about working out is that you don’t necessarily have to hit the gym in a “traditional” way. Staying physically fit is something everyone can do – from young people to older individuals to people who may have been previously injured and everyone in between.
Swim workouts, for example, can help you get in shape, improve your agility, and help you lose weight. They’re also the types of exercises that virtually anybody can do. Case in point: if you already have a swimming pool in your backyard, you don’t necessarily have to go to the gym. Even if you want to go to the gym, if it has a pool, you suddenly have a ton of different exercises that you can add to your arsenal.
All told, swim workouts are a perfect way to lose weight. There are several exercises for beginners, intermediates, and experts that you will want to know more about.
The Benefits of Swim Workouts: Breaking Things Down
Developing an exercise routine of any kind will help you lose weight, as being active and burning calories is always more effective than remaining sedentary. But swim workouts, in particular, bring many benefits that cannot be ignored.
Chief among these is the fact that swimming is a low-impact exercise. If you were to throw yourself into running, for example, you’d likely lose weight, but its hard-impact nature will put a significant amount of strain on your knees and other joints. Swimming, on the other hand, burns calories without simultaneously putting your body in a state of duress.
Another significant advantage of swim workouts is that it’s a perfect opportunity to focus on your entire body. Many exercises like sit-ups only focus on one particular area – in this case, your core. If you’re off to the gym, you must do several exercises to tackle as much of your body as possible. With swimming workouts, you’re targeting your entire body in one fell swoop – allowing you to lose both weight and tone.
Using swim workouts for weight loss, you should also know that it is a great way to burn calories. You can burn hundreds of calories by doing vigorous laps around the pool while practicing your breaststroke or treading water. However, remember that the number of calories you burn will depend on how long you swim, among other factors.
Many people don’t realize it, but water is 780 times denser than the surrounding air. This means that if you did the same workout on land and in the water, you’d have a much more intense workout during the latter than you would the former. In terms of being a well-rounded workout, swim workouts are also a chance to focus on your cardio and strength training simultaneously.
Finally, swim workouts are great because they’re a safe option for people who may already have injuries. When people sustain injuries (especially to their joints and back), they tend to stop being as active as they were – thus leading to weight gain. Getting rid of the weight becomes difficult because there are now some exercises they physically cannot do. There’s a reason why many professionals will have patients do physical therapy exercises in water – it’s effective in a way that won’t exacerbate any issues you already have.
With swim workouts, however, everything is on the table. All this, coupled with the fact that water is an effective (not to mention natural) way to increase your mood, you’re looking at multiple things to take advantage of simultaneously.
Beginner Swim Workouts
One of the great, classic swimming workouts that are perfect for beginners takes the form of “The Bicycle.” As the name suggests, this lets you use your body to mimic a “pedal” motion with your legs. In addition to burning calories, this is a great chance to work on your legs and core.
Another beginner swim workout is every bit as straightforward as it sounds – “The Walk.” If yours is a pool with a consistent depth from one end to the other (or if you’re tall enough not to worry about going entirely below the water), walk at your own pace from one end to the other. Again, water is much denser than air, so simply walking will burn more calories than you would walk around the block for the equivalent amount of time.
Finally, we have what is referred to as “The Dolphin.” Here, you’ll go to the middle or end of the pool and put your feet firmly on the ground. Your chin should be just above the water line. After extending your arms straight out:
- Keep your right hand open with your palm facing downward.
- Hold those legs together, lift them slowly and keep those knees straight.
- Use your hips to generate momentum and more around the water.
- Kick your feet like a dolphin tail and watch those calories burn off.
Intermediate Swim Workouts
If you’re ready to kick things up a notch in intensity, look no further than “The Sprint.” Swim over to one of your pool’s edges and hold your legs straight. Then, lift your legs until they reach the water’s surface before lowering them back down again. Repeat this motion often and increase your speed as you do. Some might say this is the underwater version of a traditional “High Knees” exercise.
Another intermediate swim workout you can try is the “Tuck Jump.” You’ll go to the pool’s shallow end and stand straight up and down. Then, jump up by bending your knees and then lifting your legs. Bring those knees to your chest. You use your core and arms every time you jump like this in the water. It’s a great way to burn calories and build up some strength as well.
Advanced Swimming Workouts
If you’re ready to push yourself and see how far you can go, one great option is to turn any of the above swim workouts into an advanced exercise simply by adding weights. People do it on land all the time – adding weights increases the overall intensity of the workout, thus allowing you to burn more calories and lose more weight. Adding weights while doing swimming workouts operates on the same principle, so if you can do so, it’s something you should consider. You can also slowly increase the weight you’re working with over time to take those gains even further.
Finally, no discussion of advanced swimming workouts would be complete without a mention of what is called the “Plie Jump.” Not only will this burn calories, but it will also allow you to focus on your legs and bottom. To do the Plie Jump properly, stand in an area of the pool where the water is just above your waist. Then, bring both knees together and angle your feet about 45 degrees outward from your body. At that point, you have to jump straight out of the water as high as you possibly can. Push your toes against the bottom of the pool to get some distance and return to the aforementioned bent position when you’re done.
These are just a few swimming pool exercises you can do to burn calories and lose weight. For the best results, try to move from one end of the list to the other as you build strength, stamina, and confidence in yourself. Even if you’re confident in your swimming abilities, you shouldn’t necessarily start with the more advanced workouts. Try a few “beginner” exercises and, as your skills increase, move up the list only when you’re ready.
Concerning your long-term weight loss and fitness goals, there are other ways to achieve success. Regardless of your swimming exercises, always be sure to remain hydrated throughout. Even though you’re in the water, you’ll get much more dehydrated than you realize. This can cause fatigue and other issues that can sneak up before you realize something is wrong. Likewise, be sure to use a flotation device for safety if you’re not a strong swimmer. Don’t push yourself too hard or do something dangerous just because you want to burn calories in the pool. Ways like those outlined above do precisely without putting you in a potentially dangerous situation.
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