Taking the plunge!

2013May15_Swimming&WaterSports_AIt’s easy to assign stereotypes when it comes to keeping fit: such as aerobics classes where you leap around in lycra or weight sessions fuelled by testosterone. When it comes to water sports and swimming, no cliches fit as there is a whole range of activities awaiting you either on the water, in the water, or even under the water, which you might want to explore. US Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps is proof enough of how a few good strokes can take you far. Swimming and water sports offer a refreshing change from humdrum workouts, really shaping up and toning your body. So are you ready to take the plunge?

When was the last time you went swimming and really put some power behind those strokes rather than simply paddling around or treading water? Have you tried many water sport activities? You don’t have to be jetting along behind a speedboat doing water acrobats to get the most out of water activities. Often a simple swim or aqua aerobics class can revitalize your body and get you back in the swim of things when it comes to keeping fit. If you’re holding back from dipping a toe in the water, here’s a few reasons why water is the perfect fitness fit:

  • Natural resistance: The force of water when you move through it offers a similar resistance challenge to weight-lifting. This means that you don’t need to move at a frenetic pace to really tone your body and develop and strengthen your muscles when you’re in the water. You don’t need any fancy equipment either!

  • Cooler than aerobics: If you’ve ever sweated it out in a full-on aerobics class then you will know that unless you are super-fit, the heat can be a real challenge. However, being in cool water helps you keep at your water exercise and activities without feeling stifled by the heat. Because of the resistance water offers, you can really get your heart rate working at an aerobic level. So water exercise is great for anyone who isn’t as used to exercise or perhaps struggles with stamina.

  • Total body workout: Swimming works on making your whole body flexible and toned rather than concentrating on a small group of muscles. When you get out the water you cannot help but feel the afterglow of a stimulating swimming session. While the cardiovascular side of water activities conditions your heart and lungs, the strength training side of water fitness conditions your muscles.

  • Protection: If you have any weaknesses in any part of your body, such as your knees or back, then swimming and water fitness is ideal. The water acts as a protective barrier on joints, muscles and bones, so that there are no strains, pressures and stresses that could cause injury. If you have mobility issues and lack range and flexibility then the water can help buffer against too many demands on the physique.

  • Body-conscious-friendly: Okay, you might have to wear a figure revealing pair of swimming briefs or a swimsuit, but once you’re in the water you can keep your body under wraps. If you’re just getting back into exercise or are self-conscious about the way you look, then the water can be something of an exercise safety-blanket. If you haven’t yet ‘got it’ then it’s understandable that you might not be quite ready to ‘flaunt it’.

  • Healing feeling: From a warm bath, to a gentle glide through water, or an adrenaline-fuelled water sport, there’s something intrinsically relaxing, therapeutic and soothing about water. Spend 20 minutes in a pool and you come out feeling like a different, more relaxed person. Water helps the stresses of the day float away.

  • Holiday fun!: What’s great about getting into water fitness and activity sessions is you can extend these to fun times on vacation too. Nothing beats a dip in the sea, or a dive in the ocean, not to mention surfing, sailing and jet skiing. Enjoy the water during your down time when you want to simply have a great time enjoying yourself!

Are you ready to dive in and get fit in the process? We’d love to hear from you!

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