Establishing a Swimming Routine for Fitness, Part 1

By Steven Darien

In addition to being an enjoyable way to pass the time, swimming is an excellent means to lose weight and stay in shape. For those interested in using swimming for fitness, I have assembled various tips and pointers to use as you begin shaping your routine.

1. Invest in the Right Equipment

You will need a swimsuit; that much is obvious. But beyond a suit, the equipment you use depends on what you want to get out of your swimming sessions. Consider buying a pair of goggles to protect your eyes, whether you’re swimming in a chlorine pool or a lake. Fins are optional, but they do help boost your momentum and work your legs harder, giving them tone and strength. Kickboards can be used to work on your legs exclusively; hop into the water, float on your kickboard, and kick in place or move yourself around the pool.

2. Start Out Slowly

Swimming is a low-stress workout and is particularly easy on the joints in the legs; it is difficult to injure yourself while swimming provided you apply common sense and keep out of the water when you feel tired. However, that does not mean swimming will not work your body as hard as other exercise routines. As you put together your swimming sets and reps, start out slow and easy. Swim a few laps, rest for a few minutes, then swim again. Stop when you feel tired and make up the time later. The more often you swim, the longer you will be able to continue before needing a rest.

3. Swim Laps

Whether you swim in a large or small pool, laps are the easiest, most basic way to use to turn swimming into a workout. Just as lifting weights should be done in reps and sets, put together a schedule for your laps. Decide how many laps will make up your set, then meet that goal.