Exercise! - swimming questions....

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08-07-2007, 03:34 PM
Hey gals!!

I'm trying to incorporate some different exercises into my daily routine---and nothing sounds better during the summer than SWIMMING! :D
I wanted to ask you experts about this. Here is my situation:

I live in condominiums, so we have an outside pool that goes from 3 feet (where you step into the pool) up to 5 ft (the deepest end). Obviously it is not an olympic-sized pool, but just an average "apartment-complex" pool. ;)
Now I know that swimming is a fantastic exercise and planned to do it today.

But my question is this: Can you ladies please tell me the greatest way to utilize this small pool space and burns calories? Should I stick to doing laps back and forth across the pool, or anything else I haven't thought of?
My plan was to do laps in different styles a few times. If I do this, how many laps do you recommend, and for how long should I be in the water?

sincerely!!! :):)

08-07-2007, 05:58 PM
The number of laps you should do really depends on how long the pool is. I'd probably aim to swim for at least half an hour to an hour and not worry about how many laps you are doing.

You also might want to try water aerobics or similar exercises. I think swimming laps is hard in a pool that is less than 20 yards long (most apartment-complex pools) because you have to turn around too often. Also, if there are kids in the pool and no lap lanes, it can be frustrating to try to swim laps. Here is one water workout (http://www.self.com/fitness/workouts/2007/07/0723_pool)from Self.com. The most recent issue of Cooking Light features another one (unfortunately it's not online, so I can't link to it).

If you are going to swim laps:

Swim with your face in the water and proper breathing techniques. Dog paddling or breast stroke with your head out of the water just isn't effective.
Try to rest as little as possible between laps; you want to keep your heart rate up. If you can, try to work up to doing flip turns when you swim freestyle.
Wear goggles--you need to be able to see and the chlorine is murder on your eyes. I also recommend a swim cap to protect your hair (and I use shampoo/conditioner that is specially formulated to remove chlorine).
It's great to include some intervals (depending on how long the pool is, one or two laps as fast you can, then one or two recovery laps at a slower pace).
Use a variety of strokes to keep it interesting. I also spend about 25% of my swim workout just kicking (with a kickboard). Although this is clearly not as effective as when I am swimming with a full stroke, it does break up the workout a bit (I swim for an hour) and I figure it's good for my legs.
Just like any other cardio exercise, you should be somewhat out of breath. If you aren't breathing hard, try to up the intensity.

08-07-2007, 06:33 PM
Years and years ago when I was slim and a runner I had a foot injury - I couldn't run for a while so I started running in the shallow end of the pool. Great workout, basically no impact and you can cool off anytime you want - dive in! ;)