Just Keep Swimming
*Burns about 175 calories
Two words: Michael Phelps. Swimming might seem like a leisurely activity, but it can work muscles you never knew you had.
“Swimming is fantastic for the heart and lungs as well as the core endurance,” says Calabrese. “[It] is one of the most challenging activities because you need to learn to time your breathing, and is a total body exercise which gets your heart rate up very fast.”
It may be easy on the joints, but swimming also gives you a total body workout. You’re using your legs to propel, while your arms and upper body are working hard at the same time.
Before swimming, Calabrese recommends warming up your shoulders and stretching your chest and lower back. “Swimming slowly for about five minutes is also a good idea as your body adjusts to breathing while your face is in and out of the water,” she says.
To start swimming as an exercise, Calabrese suggests starting out slow to build up your confidence and endurance.
“You may want to use a kick board and work on strengthening your legs first,” she says.
Swimming, obviously, can be done in any lake, river, ocean, pool, you name it. If you’re looking to keep track of how far you’ve gone, a pool may be best. In a 25-yard pool, 33 laps (down and back) is one mile.
“[In a pool] you can time yourself and strive to beat your own time per lap(s),” says Calabrese.
If there’s no pool nearby, any body of water will do.
Before you begin swimming, make sure you know the basics and how much swimming your body can handle. If you’re swimming in a large body of water, don’t swim straight out only to realize that halfway across the lake, you’re exhausted (where are the cute lifeguards when you need them?).
The great thing about swimming is that you’re in water, so you won’t be as hot and sweaty when you finish exercising. Since you’re not sweating as much, you may not feel thirsty after a workout. Don’t let your body fool you, though. You still need to drink water!
So next time you’re lounging by the water with friends, take the opportunity to burn a few extra calories rather than just laying there!