Swimming for Health is an Effective Activity for All Age and Weight Groups

Swimming is a fun-filled activity that has plenty of health benefits for people of all ages and sizes. Irrespective of whether you are splashing around in the pool or are swimming for health reasons, the fact remains that swimming has benefits which outweigh those of nearly every other form of exercise. Due to the fact that swimming does not involve ground impact, it is a form of exercise that has been adopted by those who are unable to walk and require rehabilitative therapy. It remains one of the most enjoyable exercises around, and very few will complain about swimming for health as they might if forced to endure a stressful gym workout.

Working with Water can be a Challenge

It should be noted that swimming is not merely about frolicking in the water; the benefits of swimming are tangible, especially if you are incorporating aerobic activities into your routine. Calories are burned quickly when your body begins to work against the weight and power of water, and are burned further depending on your swimming speed and style of stroke. Primary benefits of swimming for health include quick and effective calorie burning, toned arms and legs due to rapid and repeated movement.

Water is Safer than Gym Equipment

Provided that you are supervised by a trainer, or can already swim independently, swimming for health will have another benefit for you, especially if you are older or prone to injury. Swimming is a much safer activity than using machines at the gym, which could cause injury if mishandled. The chances of drowning are rare, especially if you follow the pool rules and swim responsibly. Water will help you in reaping the benefits of swimming without hurting your body and straining your muscles.

How to Begin Your Swim Routine for Fitness

If you don’t have your own pool, take a look around your neighborhood or local gym to locate a swimming pool or club, which will charge a minimal amount to let you begin your routine there. You will only need to have basic gear such as a swimsuit or swimming trunks, and a latex swimming cap to protect your hair from the heavily-chlorinated water. You might also want to add a pair of swimming goggles, which will prevent reddening of the eyes due to chlorine exposure and will also allow you to see underwater.

In the event that you are looking to reap the maximum benefit from your swimming routine, do consider joining swimming aerobics or related activities that allow you to perform exercises in the pool.



3 Fitness Tips for Getting Your Kids Off the Couch

Photo credit: Vastateparksstaff (Family bike ride Uploaded by AlbertHerring) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Our world today revolves around the latest technology in the form of smartphones, tablets, and video game systems. Big name companies compete to bring us the latest and greatest technology and it not only has an affect on adults, but children as well.

Children today are growing up in a completely different world than it was 20 years ago. There are first graders with cell phones, teens who would rather text than talk, and video games with such lifelike graphics it’s scary. The lure of these video games is especially strong in children and teens and brings with it the problem of little or no outside activity in this age group. As parents, it’s important to know how to get your children involved in something other than staring at a TV screen or holding a game controller all day long.

Be the example – Parents can set an excellent example for their children if they are active in their daily routine. If your child sees you exercising or spending more time outside than in front of the television, they will most likely follow your example as they grow older. It may take a little bit of nudging to get them to put the cell phone down, but it will happen. Likewise, if you are a couch potato, or have your nose stuck in the computer all day, they will be more apt to follow in your footsteps. Be the person that you would want your child to be. If you keep that in mind, it won’t be hard to set good habits in motion for the whole family.

Create a routine – A daily routine can help your child get rid of bad habits and instill some discipline in the whole family. Talk to your child about getting on a schedule and let them be involved in creating a routine that works for all of you. Limit the amount of time your child is in front of the television, on the Internet, or on his/her cell phone and stick to it. Make a trip to the park or a walk outside part of your daily routine. If it’s too cold outside, play a game of tag or hide and seek just to get yourself and your child moving. Small daily steps can help to break some bad habits and lead you into a new way of life.

Find activities your child will enjoy – This can be anything from organized sports at school to a daily trip to the local gym. Talk to your child about getting involved in school activities that will keep them moving. If he/she isn’t much of a sports fanatic, there are a ton of other ways to keep them active. Going on a family hike, swimming, or simply blasting some music and dancing around the living room are some fun ways to keep in shape and have fun while doing it.

It may take some time to establish a routine that works for you and your family, but don’t give up. Make small changes on a daily basis to get your child used to any form of daily activity. Pretty soon, a trip to the park or playing ball outside will be the new normal instead of coming home to play video games or surf the Internet. Making small daily changes not only forms better habits in your child, but in your whole family.


Cool Down & Get In Shape With Water Aerobics

Photo Credit: Jorge Royan CC-BY-SA-3.0

Many people enjoy a refreshing swim or just splashing around in a pool on hot summer days. Swimming or just playing in a pool is a good aerobic workout. Water aerobic exercises are a safe alternative to regular aerobic exercise for some people. Those who have joint problems, such as arthritis, are overweight, pregnant and most older people, can benefit from water aerobics. Water aerobic exercises are extremely low impact. The water provides resistance, so just walking back and forth across a swimming pool is a good workout. Gyms and community centers often provide water aerobics classes complete with weights, floats and other exercise equipment, as well as trained fitness experts to help you get the greatest, safest benefit from your workout. 
Some of the benefits of water aerobics include improved endurance. The water resistance forces you to work your muscles without the danger of injury associated with weight bearing or high-impact exercises. Simply walking in the pool or swimming will improve your core strength as you engage your abdominal muscles to move against the resistance of the water. The water supports the weight of your body, which makes water aerobics a good exercise for pregnant women. You will stay cool during your workout, too.
Even though water aerobics is generally safe for most everyone, be sure to take some common sense precautions before beginning a water aerobics fitness program. Be sure to see your doctor for a complete physical checkup and tell your doctor that you want to start water aerobics. Make sure that there is a trained and certified lifeguard on duty at the pool where you will be exercising. Remember to drink plenty of water before and after your workout. Stretch your muscles before entering the pool to prepare for exercise. Be very careful walking around in bare feet on the wet area around the pool. Don’t forget the sunblock if you exercise in an outdoor pool. 

Water Exercise

Photo Credit: Orgullomoore CC-BY-SA-3.0-migrated
Swimming is one of the most effective whole body exercises you can do. You don’t have to be an expert swimmer or even know how to swim to take advantage of exercising in water. Exercise in a pool can provide a hardcore aerobic workout for your whole body, including your heart and lungs. The water will support your body, take pressure off your joints and muscles while providing resistance to help strengthen  your muscles. If you are not a strong swimmer or you don’t know how to swim, wear a flotation device and make sure the lifeguard at the pool knows you do not know how to swim. Gyms that have a pool and organizations like the YMCA frequently offer water aerobics and water exercise classes for groups if you aren’t sure how to begin or don’t want to invest in water weights. Membership fees for community organizations are usually reasonable. Gym prices vary, but most offer programs at a reasonable cost. 
The easiest water exercise to do is to walk around in the pool. Enter the pool and walk to a point where the water reaches your waist. Walk back and forth across the pool in the waist-deep water to give your legs a good workout. Swing your arms naturally as you would when walking on land. Walk using a normal gait. Avoid pushing off with your toes and don’t lean forward.  Squeezing your abdominal muscles while walking will also give your abs a good isometric workout and help keep you from leaning forward. Walk across the shallow water 15 to 20 times. When  you can do 20 laps in the shallow water without becoming exhausted, try increasing the number of laps or walking in deeper water, up to your chest. 
Incorporate some weight lifting into your water exercise by using water weights. Water weights are like foam dumbbells. They create a lot of resistance in the water. Hold the water weights in your hands with your palms facing up and raise the weights up to the level of the water to exercise your biceps. Hold the weights with your palms facing the bottom of the pool and push the weights through the water toward your back to work your triceps. Try to perform 15 to 20 each of the biceps and triceps curls or until you are tired.  
Finish your water exercise with a few laps of the pool. Even if you don’t know how to swim, you should be able to do a few laps while wearing a flotation vest. If you are uncomfortable in deep water, swim back and forth across the pool in water no deeper than your waist.