It’s no secret that swimming makes for one of the most effective workouts on the planet. It’s low-impact and high-reward, and it’s also a valuable skill to practice. Really, it checks all the boxes! That said, just like any other cardio activity, it can get somewhat monotonous if your goal is simply to hop in a pool and swim laps a few times a week for the sake of exercise. So here we’re going to consider a few specific ways to use the pool to accomplish your fitness goals and maybe drop a few pounds.
Walk & Read
It’s worth noting that you don’t actually need to “go swimming” to get an extremely effective workout in the water. Think of it this way: if people go for walks to get cardiovascular exercise, and we know that resistance improves the quality of a workout, wouldn’t it follow naturally that walking in the water can be good exercise? As it turns out that’s exactly the case. According to one fitness site, water-walking burns 563 calories per hour if you weigh about 155 pounds, and potentially up to about 700 calories per hour if you weight 200 pounds. That’s an extremely effective hour of exercise. And because it can get a little dull to simply pace back and forth in the water, we’re recommending you bring a book along with you and hold it in front of you while you pace. Alternatively, you could buy some Bluetooth headphones and keep your phone on the side of the pool pla
ying a podcast or a playlist to keep you entertained while you walk.
Swim To A Goal
It may be that we as a population underestimate the impact of challenges and incentives on fitness. The idea of betting on yourself or challenging yourself to reach a certain milestone is gaining popularity, however. There are numerous apps and online programs that set up arrangements to this effect. A few years ago there was even a story about a betting firm getting involved in a major weight loss bet! A guy in England lost 100 pounds to win £5,000 – and was inspired to make his bet by another weight watching punter, so apparently it’s a thing. You might not be able to get that sweet a deal – but consider arranging some kind of small bet or challenge that you’ll be able to swim a certain distance or number of laps by a given date. This kind of specific goal and reward structure takes the monotony out of daily exercise and gives you a specific thing to strive
for. You’ll be shocked how much more dedicated you become about your swimming.
Try Water Polo
Water polo is a sport many of us don’t think about unless the Summer Olympics are on television (during which time it’s actually a wildly entertaining sport to watch). But have you ever thought about actually playing? Playing Water polo means treading water, swimming quickly, absorbing physical contact from other players in the water, and generally working yourself out like crazy. There are numerous health benefits to playing water polo – most notably burning calories, getting a cardio workout, and exercising your entire body. If you’re interested in water-based workouts but you’re not into swimming laps, do some research to see if there are any recreational water polo opportunities in your area.
Guest Post by David Schooner