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Health and Fitness News

Swim Your Way Slim

Five reasons why water workouts are a great addition to your exercise routine

If you're tired of being hot and sweaty after exercising or are bored of your same old treadmill workout, it's time to try something cool and refreshing. Why not head to the pool? Maybe it's the thought of wearing a swimsuit in public or perhaps you're not a good swimmer, but don't let your inhibitions keep you from the health benefits offered by a water workout.

Be brave and jump in the pool. Here are a few reasons why you should don your suit as often as possible.

Churning Cardio

To stay afloat in the water you've got to constantly move your body. This provides a cardio workout that gets your heart and lungs in great shape, builds endurance, increases flexibility, and burns serious calories. In 15 minutes, a 200-pound person can expect to burn 227 calories by vigorously swimming freestyle laps, 181 calories swimming the sidestroke, or 91 calories treading water.

Swimming Strength

Moving in the water isn't like exercise out of the water. Instead of moving against the air, you're moving against water. Water provides 12 percent more resistance than exercise outside of water. This means that water workouts give you cardio and strength-training workouts at the same time. Treading water and swimming are full-body workouts, requiring the use of both your upper and lower body muscles. Exercising in the water builds, strengthens, and rehabilitates muscles, while working muscles that are often overlooked in traditional weight-training routines.

Low-Impact Laps

Weak or painful joints aren't an excuse to skip water-based exercise. Actually, these are all good reasons to get wet while you work out. Water provides the perfect environment to exercise in while protecting, healing, and strengthening damaged joints. So, water workouts are an ideal exercise for those who deal with knee, hip, or back problems, as well as those with arthritis or women who are pregnant. Instead of pounding the pavement while jogging or walking, the buoyancy of water provides a low-impact workout that's gentle on the body.

Stress-Relieving Strokes

Exercise is a recognized way to manage stress and increase the release of feel-good endorphins. Add cool water for refreshment or warm water for relaxation and you've got a powerful combination for stress relief. Forget about the bills piling up, the deadlines at work, and the fight with your sister as you glide through the calming water.

A Lifestyle You Can Maintain

Anyone at any age or stage can enjoy the health benefits of a water workout. Swimming is a life skill everyone should know how to do. Supervised kids, couch potato adults, athletic adults, and the elderly can get their exercise in water as they adjust the pace and intensity to meet their fitness level.

There are numerous ways to move about in the water to get your workout. Depending on your skill, interests, and fitness level, you can choose from water aerobics, water walking or running, water yoga, treading water, wall exercises, or swimming laps using various strokes.

Fun and Different

You're more likely to give up on exercise when you're stuck doing the same boring workout day in and day out. Try a water workout for something different. It's a fun way to meet new people, socialize, stay cool in the summer, and get your exercise.