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Swimming Laps continued...

When deciding how to pace yourself in the pool, simply calculate how many laps equal 25 or 50 yards. Then try to complete that number of laps in one minute. For example, to swim 50 yards in one minute in my 15-yard pool, I would need to swim about three laps in one minute. To burn 250 calories, I would have to swim three laps in each minute of a 30-minute workout.

Try to use different strokes to vary the muscles you work. Or consider doing other types of water exercise to keep your workout balanced.

Going Vertical

The growing variety of vertical, or upright, water workouts includes water walking or jogging, water aerobics, water toning, water flexibility training, water therapy and rehabilitation, water yoga, deep-water exercise, and wall exercises.

You can effectively strengthen your muscles with vertical water workouts because you experience 75% greater resistance than when you're swimming horizontally. This is because the vertical position maximizes the drag or pull of water against your movements. In traditional swimming, the goal is to minimize drag and glide through the water efficiently.

Here are a few tips and points to keep in mind for vertical water workouts:

  • Buoyancy supports the body and allows you to make larger movements than you can on land.
  • Intensity increases as you increase the size and speed of your movements.
  • Sculling and downward movements of the hands create balance and control.
  • Before you start using resistance devices, such as webbed hand mitts, make sure you are balancing your arms and legs to help coordinate and stabilize your moves.
  • For good muscle balance, make movements that work the body all around in various planes while maintaining proper body alignment.
  • To maintain alignment, keep your abdominals tight to support a long, upright spine and tuck your hips slightly under (particularly when moving backward).
  • Avoid holding static stretches in cool water.
  • Drink plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration, which you may not notice because you're not feeling or seeing the effects of sweat or body heat.

Try these easy exercises in your pool:

  • Jog toward one end of the pool and then push back.
  • Jumping jacks: Starting with the legs together, jump out and back.
  • Shoulder raises front and side.
  • Scissor steps with alternate arm punches.

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