If you have kids, chances are you’ll be spending time at the pool, beach or water park this summer. While it’s always nice to relax and soak up some sun while they splash and play, you can also use the opportunity to squeeze in a great workout.
Here are four reasons swimming is a smart addition to your summer exercise routine:
- Swimming offers something no other aerobic exercise does: the ability to work your body without harsh impact to the skeletal system. This is especially helpful if you have stiff muscles or sore joints, or if you are overweight or suffer from arthritis or other health conditions.
- Swimming increases muscle strength and tones muscles. Because water provides 12 times more resistance than air in every direction, swimming is a challenging workout that helps build strength unlike most other “land” exercises. Also, swimming works all the major muscle groups, including the shoulders, back, abdominals, legs, hips and glutes.
- Swimming helps joints and ligaments stay loose and flexible. With every stroke, your body is lengthened and stretched, and the broad range of motion helps encourage flexibility from head to toe.
- Lastly, swimming is recognized as one of the best calorie-burning exercises, making it ideal for weight loss and maintenance. To boost the calorie-burning effects, consider doing intervals in which you work your hardest for short bursts and then recover.
Don’t forget, even though your body may be submerged in water, you still need to protect your skin from the sun when swimming outdoors. Apply a good waterproof sunscreen such as Blue Lizard Australian Sport Sunscreen SPF 30 Plus or Kiss My Face Sport Spray SPF 50 at least 30 minutes before swimming, and reapply regularly if you’ll be outdoors for an extended length of time. Happy summer!
NPC National Figure competitor Melissa Transou, a fitness expert, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Learn more about Melissa in this recent RXMuscle.com spotlight article, connect with her on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.