How to Swim to Work Out

Get your heart racing with a swimming workout.

Get your heart racing with a swimming workout.

If running another mile on the treadmill makes you groan, switch up your works and splash in the pool for a solid workout. Regularly swimming laps for a total of 2.5 hours per week can decrease your risk for chronic illness, improve your mental health and help you lose weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Plus, it won't make your knees ache like running can. Don't feel self-conscience in that bathing suit – the more you wear it while completing a swimming workout, the better you'll look while donning it.

Ease into your swimming workout to avoid getting burnt out. Swim for 30 seconds or one lap of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and then rest for another 30 seconds. Repeat for a total of 10 times. You're not swimming a race here – you won't get a medal for going faster than you're able. Slow down and maintain a pace that keeps your heart rate elevated, but doesn't cause you to tire rapidly. That pace will differ for everyone, depending on your fitness level.

Add kicks into your swimming routine. Hold onto the edge of the pool or a kickboard and kick quickly, focusing on using all the muscles in your lower body, from calves to hip flexors, for 30 seconds. Rest for another 30 seconds. When that feels too easy, increase the kicks to 45 seconds and rest for 15 seconds.

Apply the same standard 10-percent rule that runners use. To avoid burn-out or injury, increase your weekly swimming distance by no more than 10 percent from the previous week. For example, if you swam 1 mile during each workout last week, only increase it to 1.1 miles this week.

Swim with proper form once you've found your way around the pool. With each stroke you take, extend your arm from your shoulder just under the surface of the water. Pull that water toward you, keeping your elbow high. Your lower body should maintain strong, smells kicks that originate in the hips, not the knees.

Items you will need

  • Swimsuit
  • Goggles
  • Fins (optional)
  • Kickboard (optional)

Tip

  • When swimming at the gym, observe proper lane etiquette. Watch the traffic pattern of swimmers sharing a lane, and don't swim in the fast lane if you're just getting your sea legs.

Warning

  • Speak with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
 

About the Author

Kelsey Casselbury has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Penn State-University Park and formal education in fitness and nutrition. Collins is an experienced blogger, editor and designer, who specializes in nutrition, fitness, weddings, food and parenting topics. She has been published in association and consumer publications, along with daily newspapers such as The Daily Times (Salisbury, Md.)

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