Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How to Use Your Pool to Get Fit For Summer

Your pool can be the best thing you can have for your health. Swimming and water based exercise are part of the world's major professional athletic training regimes, and whether you're 5 or 95, it can do you a lot of real good. Every part of your pool equipment, from your pool cleaner to your pool heater, can get you very fit in a hurry.

Photo: mslaura

The physics of getting fit in the pool
Swimming and other types of water exercise are particularly good for exercising whole muscle groups. These exercises require a lot of fine muscle movement, coordination and most importantly good breathing techniques. Your pool is doing you good from the second you enter the water.

The exercises provide a huge range of benefits:

Swimming: Muscle coordination, muscular strength, stamina, endurance, and good breathing routines, useful for improving oxygenation to the body. Every muscle in the body is used in synchronization, and the balance required in the water for good swimming is excellent in terms of improving overall back strength, critical for muscular strength and development.

Swimming is like running in several ways for the legs, but for the arms, chest, shoulders and pectoral areas it's more like rowing. This type of exercise promotes muscle development through sheer motion. If you look at professional swimmers, you'll notice that their upper body development is greatly enhanced for this reason. Different types of swimming strokes generate different types of muscular development.

Water sports: This is the equivalent of sprint training. Sports like water polo, and even just playing catch with a ball in the water provide a lot of high intensity movement exercise. The simple act of treading water provides good semi-passive exercise, an almost unconscious type of exercise.

It's the "sprint" factor which is the main factor, though. If you're sprinting in the water, you use a lot of energy, which produces good results for those trying to build good energy routines. On land, the water sports training translates into a lot of strong running and excellent stamina.

Mild pool exercise: Even just floating in the water is extremely good for you. The water removes the pressure of gravity to a very large extent, and the muscles can rest properly with minimal effort and much less strain. This type of exercise is often used for building basic fitness before moving on to the more demanding exercise regimes.

For anyone at any level of fitness, mild pool exercises are extremely good preparation for the more demanding types of land and water exercise. The water improves muscular coordination naturally, rather than the often inappropriate effects of exercises which are too much for people who aren't used to them.

Your pool can be a major help in improving your health, and it has its "instant rewards", too. A heated pool with a good pool pump is a terrific asset for those who like getting fit and feeling fantastic while they're doing it.

Your pool can be your health's best friend. Check out pool exercises and games, and you'll find you're having a lot of fun while getting fitter than you've ever been.