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10 Excercises to do in the Pool

Posted on | September 18, 2017 | No Comments

Pool (aquatic) exercise provides many benefits, including an ideal environment to exercise throughout the year. The buoyancy of the water supports a portion of your body weight making it easier to move in the water and improve your flexibility. The water also provides resistance to movements, which helps to strengthen muscles. Pool exercises can also improve agility, balance, and cardiovascular fitness. Many types of conditions greatly benefit from pool exercise, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, joint replacements, neurological, and balance conditions. The pool environment also reduces the risk of falls when compared to exercise on land.

Preparing for the Pool
Before starting any pool exercise program, always check with your physical therapist or physician to make sure pool exercises are right for you. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Water shoes will help to provide traction on the pool floor.
  • Water level can be waist or chest high.
  • Use a Styrofoam noodle or floatation belt/vest to keep you afloat in deeper water.
  • Slower movements in the water will provide less resistance than faster movements.
  • You can use webbed water gloves, Styrofoam weights, inflated balls, or kickboards for increased resistance.
  • Never push your body through pain during any exercise.
  • Although you will not notice that you sweat with pool exercises, it is still important to drink plenty of water.

10 Excellent Exercises for the Pool
1. Water walking or jogging: Start with forward and backward walking in chest or waist high water. Walk about 10-20 steps forward, and then walk backward. Increase speed to make it more difficult. Also, increase intensity by jogging gently in place. Alternate jogging for 30 seconds with walking in place for 30 seconds. Continue for 5 minutes.

2. Forward and side lunges: Standing near a pool wall for support, if necessary, take an oversized lunge step in a forward direction. Do not let the forward knee advance past the toes. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. For a side lunge, face the pool wall and take an oversized step to the side. Keep toes facing forward. Repeat on the other side. Try 3 sets of 10 lunge steps. For variation, lunge walk in a forward or sideways direction instead of staying in place.

3. One leg balance: Stand on 1 leg while raising the other knee to hip level. Place a pool noodle under the raised leg, so the noodle forms a “U” with your foot in the center of the U. Hold as long as you can up to 30 seconds and switch legs. Try 1-2 sets of 5 on each leg.

4. Sidestepping Face the pool wall. Take sideways steps with your body and toes facing the wall. Take 10-20 steps in 1 direction and then return. Repeat twice in each direction.

5. Hip kickers at pool wall: Stand with the pool wall to one side of your body for support. Move 1 leg in a forward direction with the knee straight, like you are kicking. Return to start. Then move the same leg to the side, and return to the start position. Lastly, move that same leg behind you. Repeat 3 sets of 10 and switch the kicking leg.

6. Pool planks: Hold the noodle in front of you. Lean forward into a plank position. The noodle will be submerged under the water, and your elbows should be straight downward toward the pool floor. Your feet should still be on the pool floor. Hold as long as comfortable, 15-60 seconds depending on your core strength. Repeat 3-5 times.

7. Deep water bicycle: In deeper water, loop 1-2 noodles around the back of your body and rest your arms on top of the noodle for support in the water. Move your legs as if you are riding a bicycle. Continue for 3-5 minutes.

8. Arm raises: Using arm paddles or webbed gloves for added resistance, hold arms at your sides. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Raise and lower elbows and arms toward the water surface, while the elbows remain bent to 90 degrees. Repeat for 3 sets of 10.

9. Push ups: While standing in the pool by the pool side, place arms shoulder width apart on pool edge. Press weight through your hands and raise your body up and half way out of the water, keeping elbows slightly bent. Hold 3 seconds and slowly lower back into pool. (Easier variation: Wall push up on side of pool: place hands on edge of pool shoulder width apart, bend elbows, and lean chest toward the pool wall.)

10. Standing knee lift: Stand against the pool wall with both feet on the floor. Lift 1 knee up like you are marching in place. While the knee is lifted even with your hip, straighten your knee. Continue to bend and straighten your knee 10 times, and then repeat on the other leg. Complete 3 sets of 10 on each leg. For more of a challenge, try this exercise without standing against the pool wall.

 

How Long Do You Have to Swim to Lose Weight?

Posted on | September 16, 2017 | No Comments

Swimming is an activity that can aid weight loss. The U.S. Masters Swimming website notes that swimming has the added benefit of providing a total cardiovascular workout. How long you’ll need to swim to get thin depends on your weight, how fast you swim and the swimming stroke you use, according to personal trainer Alice Burron, M.S., an exercise physiologist and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise.


Weight Loss

Because 3,500 calories equals one pound, you’ll need to burn 3,500 more calories than you take in to lose one pound, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cutting 500 calories from your daily diet would do the trick. But exercise, along with cutting calories, will accelerate weight loss. The CDC recommends at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as swimming, per week. After you reach your weight loss goal, regular swimming will help maintain your weight. The National Weight Control Registry, a database of people who’ve lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it off for at least five years, reports that 90 percent of people who successful lose weight exercise an average of an hour a day. Finding a physical activity you enjoy, such as swimming, is important because you’re more likely to do it consistently, resulting in weight loss.

Calories Burned

The CDC states that a 154-pound person burns around 510 calories by swimming laps for an hour. If you don’t change your diet, you’ll need to swim laps for about seven hours to lose one pound. The more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn. If you weigh 200 pounds, you’ll burn around 637 calories by swimming laps for a hour while a 240-pound person would burn around 763 calories during an hour of swimming laps. Because swimming uses virtually all of the body’s muscles, it can erase just as much body fat as land-based exercises. In a University of Utah study comparing exercise in water to walking on land, overweight women who swim four times a week for 40 minutes slim down just as much as women who walk the same amount of time at the same intensity level.

Swimming Strokes

Different swimming strokes burn different amounts of calories, influencing how long you need to swim to lose weight. If you want to get maximum calorie burn for the time you spend in the water, use the butterfly stroke. Burron says this difficult stroke, which uses a dolphin-like kick and windmill arm motion, will burn around 150 calories in 10 minutes for a 160-pound person. After the butterfly stroke, the freestyle stroke, also known as the front crawl, burns the most calories, according to Burron. “Because the freestyle is the easiest swimming stroke, it’s the most popular one used for fitness and weight loss,” Burron says. The breaststroke and backstroke are other swimming techniques that burn lots of calories, equivalent to a fast walk or slow jog for the same amount of time. The more you swim using a particular stroke, the faster you’ll improve your technique and the more calories you’ll burn.

Tips

To up your calorie burn and lose more weight, Burron recommends interval training. Swim as fast as you can for a lap, then swim the next lap at a more relaxed pace. By increasing your workout intensity, even if only for short spurts of time, you’ll increase the calories burned and raise your metabolic rate so you’ll continue to burn calories even when at rest, Burron notes. Consider wearing a bathing cap. “It will reduce resistance in the water, allowing you to increase your swimming speed and burn more calories,” Burron says. The U.S. Masters Swimming website recommends using a variety of strokes to break up your routine and help avoid boredom. Try using fins, hand paddles and kickboards to add variety to your water workouts too. Start slowly and gradually increase your endurance until you can comfortably swim for 10 to 30 minutes without stopping to rest. If you swim regularly, you’ll soon reach your weight loss goal and see a slimmer you.

Swimming for weight loss

Posted on | September 16, 2017 | No Comments

For those looking to lose 10 pounds, swimming is a unique and effective alternative to other types of cardio workouts like running or biking. Swimming is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise because it works the entire body, but also provides a low-impact form of exercise. Regardless of your swimming ability, with some practice, you should be able to hit the pool and lose some weight when swimming.


What are the Health Benefits of Swimming?

According to the American Heart Association, 30 to 60 minutes of swimming 4 to 6 days a week can help individuals both lose weight and reduce health risks such as stoke, diabetes and heart disease.

Unlike running, biking, and many other forms of cardio, swimming provides a full body workout. Muscles in the lower body, upper body, core, and back will all be worked and strengthen during a good swimming workout. In addition to these muscles, swimming also helps strengthen both the heart and lungs.

Swimming is often recommended for individuals with joint problems. This low-impact exercise does not put additional stress upon knees, hips, or backs, unlike running or biking.

How to Lose Weight Swimming

Combined with a healthy, well-balanced diet, individuals who commit themselves to a regular swimming routine should be able to lose weight. With that goal in mind, spending 60 minutes a day, 4 to 6 days a week in the pool should yield results.

If you are new to swimming, start slowly. During the first week, begin by doing intervals. Swim for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. As this gets easier, begin to increase your swim time and reduce your rest interval. Repeat for 30 minutes. Aim to advance to 60 minutes and to the point where you can swim up to 20 laps, or 500 meters, without stopping.

For more advanced swimmers, to be able to lose weight, you will need to maintain proper form and keep your heart rate elevated to reap the benefits of this cardiovascular exercise. Like the above routine, you will want to focus upon interval training. Try to sprint for three laps and then swim one lap slowly. At the end of the last lap, stop and rest for 30 seconds. Continue to repeat this process for 60 minutes. To avoid boredom, consider switching to different stokes such as backstroke or the ever challenging butterfly. Additionally, you can add kicking exercise, where you utilize a kick board, to your routine.

Appetite Warning

The University of Florida completed a 3 month study of swimming and determined that certain individuals actually gained weight when following a swimming regiment. This research determined that some people have their appetites stimulated after prolonged exposure to cold water temperatures. Be aware of this and refrain from eating back all those calories you burned during your workout.

Swimming instead of the Gym

Posted on | May 8, 2017 | No Comments

Swimming can make over your muscles, transform you into a cardio goddess, and turn back the aging clock. Here are 10 reason why swimming is not only a great activity, but also will keep you healthy and may let you live longer:

1. Swimming Improves Muscle Definition and Strength
Swimmers gain muscle strength throughout the entire body. Where runners see muscle build in their legs, swimmers utilize more muscle groups to move through the water. While the legs kick, the arms pull. As the back reaches and rotates, the stomach tightens to power the legs and stabilize the core, making swimming one of the best aerobic exercises to give you a total body workout. Just look at Michel Phelps’ fit physique if you need inspiration!

2. Swimming Builds Up Bone Mass
For years, researchers scoffed at the idea that swimming affected bone mass. After all, only weight-bearing exercises were able to achieve this benefit, right? Not according to research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Because there are ethical reasons to avoid in-depth bone examination on humans, the study put rats into three groups: running, swimming, and a control group with no exercise stimulation. While running still showed the highest increase in BMD (Bone Mineral Density), the swimming group also showed benefits over the control group in both BMD and femoral bone weight. While more studies are needed, these new findings show that previous research dismissing swimming’s bone benefits may need to be revisited.

3. Swimming Helps You Stay Flexible
Swimming requires you to reach, stretch, twist, and pull your way through the water. Your ankles become fins and are stretched with each kick as you push off against the liquid pressure. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still stretch on your own, but repetitive stretching found in your various strokes also helps with flexibility.

4. Swimming Reduces Inflammation
While swimming’s cardiovascular benefits of strengthening the heart muscle are common knowledge, research also indicates aerobic activities, such as swimming, reduce inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis build-up in the heart. Reducing system-wide inflammation leads to lessened disease progression in many other areas as well, so expect to hear of more benefits as the research progresses.

5. Swimming Holds Its Own for Calories Burned
Everyone knows that swimming is a great way to burn calories, but most don’t realize it can be just as efficient as jumping on the treadmill. Depending on the stroke you choose and your intensity, swimming can burn equal or greater calories than running. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about sweat in your eyes. For example: for 10 minutes of swimming you burn 60 calories with the breast stroke, 80 calories with the backstroke, 100 calories with freestyle, and an impressive 150 with the butterfly stroke. For perspective, running a 10-minute mile burns around 100 calories. Therefore, a strong 30-min butterfly speed session can burn 150 more calories than running a 5K in the same time frame.

6. Swimming Can Improve Exercise-Induced Asthma

Nothing is as frustrating as trying to exercise and being unable to get your breath. Unlike working out in dry gym air or braving seasonal pollen counts, however, swimming allows you to breath moist air while you train. Not only does swimming help alleviate asthma symptoms, studies have shown that it can actually improve the overall condition of the lungs. In a recent study, a group of children that completed a six-week swimming program saw improvements in symptom severity, snoring, mouth-breathing, and hospitalization and ER visits. These benefits were still noted a year after the swimming program ended. People who don’t have asthma benefit too, as swimming increases overall lung-volume and teaches good breathing techniques.

7. Swimming Lowers Stress and Depression
Love that natural endorphin kick? While many talk about a runner’s high, swimming can bring about all those feel-good emotions too. In addition to the happy hormones, you also can feel a relaxation response similar to yoga. As I mentioned previously, swimming stretches your body constantly. Combine this with the deep rhythmic breathing, and you can experience a relaxation rush that’s very unique to the sport. Swimming is also calming and meditative, as the sound of your breathing and the water rushing by helps you focus inward and drown out all other distractions. This lowers stress and depression naturally. Research also shows that swimming can reverse damage to the brain from stress through a process called hippocampal neurogenesis. So, if you feel like you’re drowning emotionally, jumping in an actual body of water may be exactly what you need to find your feel-good feet again.

8. Salt-Water Swimming Can Be a Beauty Treatment for Skin
When I switch from pool swimming to open water workouts in the ocean, I noticed a vast improvement in my skin over time. Swimming regularly in salt water helps the skin retain moisture and detoxify to promote new cell growth. You will be surprised how smooth and healthy your skin feels after an invigorating ocean swim.

9. Swimming Can Make You Smarter
Of course all exercise is great for the mind, but can swimming actually make you smarter? Research from Australia focused on kids who took swimming lessons compared to a control group of non-swimmers. The results showed that kids who regularly participated in swimming were able to master language development, fine motor skills, confidence, and physical development sooner than the control group. Swimming may also help with math skills, as swimmers regularly calculate the meters swum in sets or interval drills to put their adding and subtraction skills to work.

10. Swimming May Just Lengthen Your Life
While all exercise can produce greater health and longevity, studies point to swimming as one of the best choices for doing so. Researchers at the University of South Carolina looked at 40,547 men, aged 20 to 90, for over 32 years. The results showed that those who swam had a 50 percent lower death rate than runners, walkers, or men who didn’t exercise.
Feeling motivated to grab those goggles now? The water’s great! Jump on in!

Benefits of Swimming

Posted on | May 8, 2017 | No Comments

Swimming has been called the perfect exercise. After all, you can get all of the benefits of an aerobic workout without any damaging impact on joints, and it can be done by both the very old and the very young. It is utilized by athletes to stay strong and keep fit when recovering from injury, and there is no fancy equipment needed—just you and the deep blue. However, swimming has many more benefits that those obvious advantages seen on the surface; its improvements to overall health go much deeper. So, let’s take a big breath, and dive in!

Benefits of Swimming: It Counts as Both Cardio and Strength Training
In swimming, if you aren’t moving constantly, you’re sinking. (Forced cardio!) Plus, water is about 800 times denser than air, says swimming and triathlon coach Earl Walton, owner of Tailwind Endurance in New York City, so your muscles are under constant resistance. Finally, no more trying to decide if today is going to be a strength or cardio day. (We suggest this pool workout for every skill level.)

Benefits of Swimming: It’s Easy on the Impact
Yes, the low impact means swimming is a great workout for injured athletes, who need to take it easy on their joints. But it may also mean more results: “You can swim at higher intensities on a regular basis without feeling wear and tear on your body,” Walton says. You could have a super-hard workout one day and still be in the pool the next, he says. Bonus: Research in the International Journal of Sports Medicine shows swimming is better than straight-up rest for exercise recovery, for when you want to take it easy.

Benefits of Swimming: It’s Great for Your Lungs
When your face is under water, oxygen is at a premium. In turn, your body adapts to use oxygen more efficiently, Walton says. Plus, it learns to take in more fresh air with every breath, and expel more carbon dioxide with every exhalation. A study in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology even found that swimmers had better tidal volume (the amount of air that moves in and out of the lungs during relaxed breathing) compared to runners. This results in lower resting heart rates, lower blood pressure, and, as you’ll see next, better running performance.

Benefits of Swimming: It Makes You a Better Runner
By increasing your ability to take in and effectively use oxygen, swimming increases your endurance capacity like crazy, Walton says. That’s great news if you’re hoping to complete your first half-marathon this year. It also means you can run faster mile after mile without getting winded. In a 2013 Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports study, swimmers who followed a controlled breathing technique (taking two breaths per pool length) improved their running economy by 6 percent after just 12 swim sessions. Air-fueled benefits aside, swimming trains your glutes and hamstrings, your core, and your shoulders—all of which are needed for improved running form and performances, Walton says.

Benefits of Swimming: Anyone Can Do It
Whether you’re recovering from an injury, pregnant (Walton has trained women in the pool on their due dates), a new mom, or an Ironman competitor, swimming can give you a great workout (um, as long as you—you know—know how to swim). You control the pace, intensity, and what you get out of every session, he says.

Benefits of Swimming: It Slashes Major Stress
While exercise-induced endorphins will do wonders for your stress levels, getting in the water for your workout may have its own special brand of mood-boosting benefits, Walton says. Being submerged in water dulls the amount of sensory information that bombards your body, helping to bring on feelings of calm, according to a study published in Pain Research & Management. Researchers found that regular flotation tank sessions were effective at relieving symptoms in patients suffering from conditions related to chronic stress. No wonder you love soaking in the bathtub.

Benefits of Swimming: It Turns Back the Clock
Regular swimmers are biologically 20 years younger than their driver’s licenses say they are, according to research from Indiana University. Scientists say that, even up until your 70th birthday, swimming affects blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cardiovascular performance, central nervous system health, cognitive functioning, muscle mass, and blood chemistry to be much more similar to that of your younger self. Who needs night cream?

Benefits of Swimming: It Hits Otherwise Underworked Muscles
“You don’t sit at your desk with your arms over your head,” Walton says. But when you’re in the pool, your arms are all over the place, meaning you need to work your often-neglected lats, deltoids, and traps, he says. And we know you aren’t targeting those when you’re on a bike or pounding the pavement. Plus, since so much of swimming is about staying balanced and level in the water (while both your arms and legs are moving, mind you), swimming helps you develop the deep stabilizing muscles in your core and lower back that women often miss.

Benefits of Swimming: It Makes You Smarter
Blood flow to the brain increased by up to 14 percent when men submerged themselves in water up to their hearts, according to a Journal of Physiology study. Researchers believe water’s pressure on the chest cavity may have something to do with it, and they are now studying whether water-based workouts improve blood flow to the brain better than do land-based ones. Stay tuned.

Benefits of Swimming: It Opens You Up to Awesome Experiences
Want to hop off the back of a boat? Swim across the San Francisco Bay? Go snorkeling in the Bahamas? Win every game of Marco Polo? Mastering swimming will help you do all that, Walton says. “Swimming’s a life skill. It opens the doors to a lot of fun stuff.”

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  • About Me

    Just over a year ago I was celebrating the training for and completion of my first marathon and now, a year later, that couldn't feel farther away than it does right now.

    Sure, I have had some injuries and other events that have distracted me from being health focused but to be honest, they are all merely excuses to allow me to focus fully on being lazy.

    To ensure that I stay focused on this effort, I plan to document day to day efforts and events on my way back to a better life.

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