Make a splash with summer swimming
There’s no better way to beat the heat—and get in some activity—than by going for a swim. And because Slimming World’s activity program, called Body Magic, encourages small, achievable steps to a more active life, every dip can count towards a healthier you.
“Swimming can help improve your cardiovascular fitness, giving you a good all-over workout and helping to tone you up—no matter your age, weight, or ability,” says Mary O’Donoghue, aquatics senior director at the YMCA of Greater New York. Because water supports 90 percent of your body weight, it also allows for stress-free movement for muscles and joints.
Ready to jump into swimming? Here are three ways to boost your Body Magic in the water.
Make it a class act
Water aerobics classes are generally really friendly and welcoming to beginners. “They often start in the shallow end with the instructor demonstrating the moves from the side of the pool while music motivates you,” says O’Donoghue.
Try out one of these fun new takes on traditional water-workout classes: Aqua Zumba takes the fun of Zumba into the pool, water walking uses the natural resistance of water for full-body activity, and some pools offer aquatic workouts inspired by yoga, Pilates and t’ai chi. Check out your local YMCA for class options.
Start at the wall—hold on while kicking in place. Once you’re comfortable, grab a kickboard to help keep your arms afloat while working your legs. “Once your kicking becomes more of a natural movement, start working on your breathing,” says Nina Rangelova, a former Olympic swimmer and spokesperson for Roka sportswear. While holding the kickboard, put your face in the water and exhale (blowing bubbles). Lift up your chin to breathe, then repeat the exhale in the water, suggests Rangelova. If you feel tired, take a break. Everything should happen gradually. “You won’t feel an improvement in 15 minutes, but if you are consistent—aim to swim two to three times a week for about 30 minutes each—you will be surprised by what your body can do,” she says.
Don’t have a pool near you? No worries—Mother Nature has made accommodations! A lake, a pond, or an ocean is a great place to swim as well. “Opt for calm, placid water since waves and changing currents might be more challenging,” says Heidi VanAmburgh, director of member sports club at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club in Brewster, Massachusetts.
For a safe swim, wearing a life vest or buoyancy belt can help you stay afloat in open water. Look for destinations with an on-duty lifeguard and an area marked as safe for swimming—and never swim alone.
Take the plunge into swimming to stay cool and active in these last golden days of summer!
If you’re planning to start a new exercise program, it’s always a good idea to check with your health care provider first—especially if you have an existing health condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.