Want to get a real workout that targets your entire body? Ditch the exercise bike and put on your bathing suit.
While gyms recently opened here in Florida, it’s still completely understandable if you’re thinking twice about venturing out. Luckily your pool or spa can aid either your workout, recovery, or both! Here’s why (and how) you can make the most of your aquatic activity at home.
Health Benefits of Swimming
Without a doubt, swimming is one of the best workouts you can get. How so? Well, imagine if you could run, bike, and lift all at the same time. All 3 have their benefits, but also their flaws.
Running provides great cardiovascular benefits, but the high-impact exercise takes a toll on your joints and connective tissues.
Biking is also great cardio — and you can probably bike for longer than you can run — but inherently dangerous at high speeds. You might also need to bike harder and longer to burn more calories than swimming.
Lifting weights can help you build muscle and boost your metabolism. But improper form and not knowing your limits could spell disaster and injury for all those gains (Side note: too much bulk is bad for swimmers because the added muscle mass could weigh you down.)
Swimming is the only exercise that combines all the benefits (cardio, endurance, and strength) because it works out your entire body, while gliding through the water also reduces the impact on your joints.
At-Home Swimming Pool Workouts
To get a good swimming workout, you’re going to need to be able to cover a good amount of distance across the water. Not everyone may have a pool that’s 25 meters in length, but there are plenty of workarounds! If you have a short pool, start by removing flip turns and don’t push off the wall. If you can spend a little bit of money, swim tethers and training belts are inexpensive options that provide constant resistance and keep your body in place for a longer, more efficient swim workout. Swim Tether is the go-to option, and there are plenty of other brands and models available on Amazon.
Hot Tub Recovery: It’s Science!
When it comes to post-workout recovery, some people are hesitant to jump into some hot water right after a good sweat. But doing so could yield a number of benefits.
You should definitely wait until you’ve caught your breath and you’ve cooled down before entering a hot tub. But once you do, hot tubs are shown to boost your metabolism, blood circulation, and body temperature — 3 key ingredients to speedy, efficient recovery.
But it doesn’t end there. Recent research suggests that hot water immersion after a cardio workout (like swimming) can provide prolonged reduction in both diastolic and average blood pressure. Of course, this is no surprise to those who’ve already been using their hot tubs to make the most of their relaxation time!
Read These Tips Before You Exercise
The South Florida sun can be brutal at times, especially during the summer. Even when you’re swimming, it’s important to keep yourself from overheating.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. You should be drinking about 8 oz. per hour, and then 7–10 oz. every 30 minutes of exercise.
- Wear sunscreen: Reduce your risk of sunburn and skin cancer. Use SPF 30 or higher to protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet rays.
- Get some shade: If you’re too hot, take a break under a shady tree, or go inside to take advantage of some air conditioning.
- Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day: South Florida has strong sunlight and high humidity, which can tax your body’s exocrine system (sweat and saliva). Don’t be afraid to pull back in the afternoon, or try working out in the early morning or late evening when it’s not so hot.
You don’t have to go to the gym to get a good workout and recovery system. With your pool or spa, the gym is already in your backyard!