I'm VERY lucky that the gym in my neighborhood has a lap pool, so I take advantage of that twice a week, along with my weekly Zumba and spin classes, my running program, as well as work on the elliptical and stationary bike. Plus, it's such a great upper body workout!
Regarding the comments about swimming being boring or unable to find swim workouts, I highly recommend swimplan.com. It's totally free and will give you personalized swim workouts. I've gotten some great workouts from that site. Each workout also contains drills to help you improve your strokes, and I think drills also add a little fun and variety to your workouts, too.
I used to think swimming was boring too, until I actually tried to improve my swimming. I take swim lessons, both private and group, every other week. That makes it more of a challenge, because someone is actually looking at my progress. An hour of swimming flies by when the coach is teaching you new techniques and drills. Swim workouts can be hard to find, especially if you can't swim 1600m yet! I like the ones I found on beginnertriathlete.com. The routines are 400m, so they take me (a slow swimmer) about 20min to complete. There are programs for beginners as well as more advanced swimmers. You can also create your own workout using common swimming drills, like the catch, pull or kick drills. Then there are the different strokes, besides freestyle, that can take a long time to master, and the drills for each of them. Right now I only focus on freestyle and backstroke, but if I ever get bored I could try breastroke or butterfly, as well as any of the non-competitive strokes. Water aerobics is also an option, a lot of women at my gym take water fitness classes regularly and when there isn't a class they do the same type of routines in the water themselves.
11/5/2008 5:01:07 PM
Another thing I'd add is that correlation does not equal causation.
The fact that swimmers have stronger bones than non-swimmers does not mean that swimming strengthens bones.
It could be that there is some other factor. For example swimmers may be fitter and are more active doing other things that do help with bone strength.
I'm sorry, but I don't necessarily agree with that study. My MIL swims laps every day for years and recently went in and had the bone density of a bird. Yeah, there's genetics here but she was immediately ordered to physical therapy with light weights. Nothing can replace strength training as the best method for those with bone density issues.
One thing more advanced swimmers can do to liven up their routine is switch among the four competition strokes (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle or front crawl.) Usually in pool areas there is also a clock on the wall to show seconds...you can do laps and try to do a set of them on a certain interval, say 10 50-yard laps leaving for each 50 on the minute. There are a lot of websites that list example workouts in case you are like me and are very uncreative in planning workouts like this.
For people who don't know all the competition strokes there is also elementary backstroke and sidestroke which are typically taught in swim lessons. You can alternate these strokes with the front crawl to create more interest. You could also see if your pool provides kickboards and other equipment which would allow more variation during your exercise time. Hang onto the kickboard and give your legs a great workout!
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