A guest post from fellow blogger Erica from Nine to Three-thirty blog about swimming for weight loss and fitness.

Swimming is a great form of exercise for all ages and it’s suitable for most levels of fitness.  It’s easy to progress at your own pace by increasing the intensity (swimming faster) or increasing the duration (more lengths).  You can even just get in the water and walk if you aren’t confident in your strokes as the water’s resistance makes that a more effective activity than on land.

Exercise in the water is often used as a way back into fitness.  Often too it’s used as part of a rehabilitation programme after a major accident or illness.  

Benefits of swimming

  • It’s a great cardiovascular activity so it will get you fit and keep you fit. That has knock on health benefits too.
  • It’s a safe exercise as you are less likely to get an injury in the pool than on land.  It’s a great way to build muscle tone.
  • Easy to access and usually at a low price, if you use your local council owned pool.

Getting equipped

The joy of swimming is that you don’t need much.  A swimming costume and a towel will get you started.  If you are likely to be putting your head underwater add in some goggles and those with longer hair might wear a swimming hat.  None of these needs cost a fortune.

Make it regular

Swimming needs to become a habit if you are swimming for weight loss or fitness.  Make it a date in your diary to go along on a certain day and time each week.  Arrange to meet up with a friend if that makes it more likely for you to go.

A 30-minute session would be a good goal when you are starting out.  You can increase the length of your session as your stamina improves.  Once a week is good, twice is better and three times is great if swimming is your main form of exercise.

Make it varied

Don’t just swim up and down doing a sedate breaststroke.  Mix in some lengths of front crawl and back crawl if you can.  Do some exercises in the pool or just walk around – it’s all good exercise and builds muscle tone.  Consider getting a float either for your hands to hold, so you can practise your leg kick.  Or look at getting a float that fits between your knees, so that you can concentrate on your arms.

Get some lessons

If you aren’t confident in the pool enrol on an adult swimming course.  Most pools will offer these courses.  If you can swim a bit, find one that will develop your strokes.  Even a confident swimmer will benefit from a little coaching to improve their strokes or their speed.

Enjoy it

Relax and enjoy the water.  When you have finished your exercise, enjoy just floating in the water, maybe scull along on your back for a little while.  See how far you can swim underwater.  Maybe try out a jump or a dive.  If you enjoy your time at the pool, you’re much more likely to come back soon and make regular swimming a habit that sticks.

Do you need some help to start exercising?

Sometimes those first steps are all you need to get moving and exercise as a new habit. These tips and tricks will get you moving and you will soon forget you didn’t like exercise!

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