Bellingham Athletic Club

Stay Young and Fit in the Pool

I was swimming in the Atlantic last week and it was delightful. It reminded me of what a great exercise it is for the young and young at heart. Here are some reasons why you should get into the water.

Heart and lung strength; Swimming is an aerobic exercise that can strengthen the heart and lungs with less stress on the body than other sports do. The mechanics of breathing in the water work like this; “You breathe in quickly and deeply, and then let the air trickle out. Because your head is underwater when you swim, these breathing adjustments are vital, and they may improve the strength of your respiratory muscles,” reports David Tanner. Livestrong has an excellent article on the benefits.

Strength training; Because water is heavier than air it provides resistance so that the body can be working harder than out of water training. Using kickboards and floats help work on specific muscle groups.

Flexibility and core work; Heated water can help relax muscles for good stretching exercises. The body is working with many muscles at the same time, improving core strength and balance.

Cross training; Swimming is a full body workout, using lots of muscles at the same time. Consistent swimming, or using the pool to mix-up your workout is an excellent program for everyone. Utilizing many of the muscles doing the one exercise. It can be an important part of physical therapy, too.

Do your own workout; Fitness Magazine has some suggestions for movements to include in your pool session.

Be social: Water aerobics is a great way to get your exercise in, too.Classes include leg and arm strength movements. Working out to music and friends makes it fun. I’ve been to a few classes and the instructors are motivating and can be challenging.

Are you a little rusty on technique, or never learned to swim? Take a refresher class to remind your body what to do. Make sure that you get the kids in the water – swimming is an important skill to learn and can be a lifelong way to workout.

BAC has a great pool in the Cordata Club. It’s indoors which is a plus for the winter months. There are water aerobics classes, lap times and lessons available. The pool opens at 5:30 am and follows the gym’s hours.

Susie Landsem
Aging in Place by Design