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Swim your way to better health

Swim Your Way to Health

Just had my yearly check-up and I was surprised to find that I had lost some weight. I’m looking at joining the local YMCA. My first thought is to get some swimming. But, I might just start with some treadmill work. Although there are plenty of folks who are more than happy to spend endless hours at the gym getting into shape, it’s certainly not everyone’s idea of fun, and for many it just feels too much like hard work.  For others, the high-impact exercise that is involved in most other workout regimens can put too much of a strain on the heart or on injured muscles.  Swimming, on the other hand, provides great overall exercise while still being low-impact.

Rather than working one particular group of muscles, swimming exercises the upper body, lower body and legs all at the same time.  Different swimming strokes will have different levels of impact on different muscles, so it can be beneficial to change strokes rather than stick with just one.  In addition to working the muscles, swimming also gives your heart a workout and is known to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  For the greatest benefit, you need to swim fairly energetically, and it is estimated that a 140-pound individual who does so for 10 minutes will burn off 360 calories, the same as would be achieved by running at almost 7.5 miles per hour for the same length of time.

Many people find swimming a far more comfortable form of exercise purely because the water helps to cool the body and stops it from overheating.  Don’t forget, though, that you are still losing fluids, so you will need to top up with clear, still water afterward.

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