Why Swimming Works
Propelling your body through a body of water is hard, especially if you aren't used to doing it regularly. The swimming process uses all the major muscle groups in both the lower and upper body. It's especially good for older folks who have challenges with weight bearing exercise, like running. You can shed the same amount of calories.
How Long And Often Works Best?
20-30 mins, about 2-3 times a week produces good benefits. Your local YMCA is a good place to start. You may be able to find a private pool to rent at a motel, if there is no facility where you live.
Just Starting Out?
I was fortunate enough to have parents who pushed me into swimming at an early age. This doesn't mean that you are too old to learn though. I personally know of some good runners who decided to do Triathlons, and couldn't swim at all. They learned through proper instruction, and sheer will. There are many good websites that show you how to maintain proper techniques to get the most out of the experience. A great website to visit is : www.swimmingworldmagazinecom
Check Out The Research
Time magazine says that swimming is a good workout for people with osteoarthritis. Warm water with low impact helps ease the joints. Some research has found that people with swim training have lower blood pressure. The resistance on muscles and joints is more uniformly distributed, and lessens the chance of injury with weight bearing activities. Some doctors have prescribed swimming activities for injured joints.
Swimming uses anaerobic (without oxygen) energy systems. This allows the body to sustain short term energy bursts, as opposed to longer distance aerobic (with oxygen). Of course you can do long distance swimming to bring about a high level of endurance training. Research has shown that aerobic exercise grows the heart muscle tissue. This means that your body can perform better during long bouts of activity.
Morgan Mabe, swim coach at Asphalt Green in New York City explains: "There are no other sports equally tough on your upper and lower body while being gently on the joints." See article, www.mensjournal It's called Why swimming is one of the best and hardest exercises you can do.
I know it's harder in the winter months to get to a swimming pool. You think brrr... I might be cold. I have found that if you just do it, you will feel warmed up for hours later. When the spring comes, your body will thank you.