Swimming. Part 1

Fitness |

What is it?
What comes to mind when you think of swimming? Maybe you picture someone doing endless laps in an Olympic-sized pool. But lap swimming is only one form of water exercise. Whether you are a beginning swimmer or an experienced one, working out in water can be the ideal way to condition your body.

Advantages
A carefully designed water exercise regimen can be a comprehensive program that targets these major areas of fitness: endurance, strength and flexibility. Water’s buoyancy makes it the ideal environment for injury-free exercise, while providing resistance to build and tone muscles, especially those of the upper body.

It’s especially beneficial for overweight, pregnant or disabled individuals for whom weight-bearing exercise is difficult. Because water places less stress on the joints and ligaments, hydrotherapy or rehabilitation in water has proven to be an effective form of physical therapy. Furthermore, swimming offers a variety of workouts, thus reducing boredom and encouraging continued participation.

Disadvantages
Convenient access to a pool or other water is necessary for swimming. Adverse weather requires an indoor pool, which can be expensive or difficult to find. Unless it’s done as part of a group activity, swimming can be solitary, especially if you are doing laps. The potential for eye and ear ailments exists when swimming. Some people may be self-conscious wearing a bathing suit in public. The chemicals in pools can be harsh and irritate dry skin and hair. Open water, such as lakes and oceans, expose swimmers to the damaging rays of the sun, water debris, infections and stings from various organisms.

Where to Participate
If you live near a community pool or a health club with a swimming pool, you should consider joining. Swimming in a lake, reservoir or calm ocean is also possible if you are familiar and comfortable with it. For safety reasons, avoid swimming alone and know what the water’s depth is before entering.

Recommended Equipment, Attire

Well-maintained swimming pool — A pool is sufficiently clean if you can see the drain at the deep end. Try to find a pool that slopes gradually, allowing you to stand in water up to your waist at one point, and your shoulders at another. Avoid pools shorter than 20 meters for lap swimming since they require frequent turns.

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