Monday, August 25, 2008

Swimming for Fitness - Exercise for Everyone?

One thing I've learned about starting an exercise regime is that you have to like the exercise you're doing. Bottom line -- if you don't like it, you probably won't keep it up. Swimming is one of those sports that's easy to enjoy, at least in my opinion. As a child I fantasized about being a mermaid, breathing under water and living far below the ocean's surface. Now as an adult, it's my own private domain where I can feel light and free. But more importantly, beyond my disneylandish dreams, swimming has a lot of benefits.

Benefits :

1. Almost Anyone Can Do It.

Regardless of whether you're overweight, underweight, elderly, disabled or pregnant, this is a sport that puts much less stress on your hip and knee joints when compared to other types of exercise. So it's fantastic for people with arthritis especially if the water is warm -- hence many elderly enjoy this water aerobic exercise. Plus if you're pregnant, the buoyancy of the water masks the feeling of being transformed into a beached whale, speaking from my own experience of course.

2. Whole Body Work-Out and Effective Weight-Loss Regime.

Who wants to have wonderfully strong legs but arms like twiggy, or vice versa. For must of us, the upper body needs some upper strength. Swimming gives you the whole deal; working-out your entire body and using more of your overall muscle mass than just about any other sport. It's mostly an aerobic exercise so a constant supply of oxygen is needed for the muscles. This form of exercise, when done regularly, is a good way to controlling your weight and improving your body's natural contours.

3.Decreases Stress.

It's hypothesized that swimming can reduce stress. Exercise in general helps produce a euphoric feeling, a 'natural high.' Life can be fast-paced, I know I am always in search of healthy stress reducers.

So where do we start and how often do we do swim? It's crucial that we develop a routine. We've all heard that we should be getting at least three half-hour sessions of physical activity a week to maintain our health. So swimming could be one of those sessions or all three or even more. If we swim consistently and regularly, our pace will increase and our style will improve. If we keep this up, both our body and mind will be stimulated, and we'll have a general sense of well-being.

: article by Jaycee Fox [ Jaycee Fox writes on subjects with the goal of achieving a healthy and balanced life. She has a Bachelors in Psychology and a Masters degree. If you're interested in the many resources in helping to achieve that balance, then check out Jaycee's website at ]