by B.J. Armstrong
August is our hottest summer month. Don't let the hot weather put you behind on your fitness program. This is the perfect time to keep in shape via the water.
Swimming lets you exercise all of the body. An outdoor pool is excellent for relaxing, playing, and having fun while the body is being toned, pampered, and shaped without very much effort.
An aerobic water program is another excellent way to keep your fitness program going during the summer months. Swimming is next to walking whenever it comes to keeping the body in shape. This can be done in the summer as well as the winter; outside in summer and inside in winter.
The shoulder is the body's most moveable joint, but its flexibility makes it prone to injury. Be sure and vary your exercises so the shoulders can rest. Develop strong shoulders with simple strengthening and stretching exercises by lifting the arms to the waist level slowly 15 times.
Walking from side to side in the pool exercises the thighs and legs for strength and flexibility. Another plus is that overweight men and women who walk 30 minutes a day in water, or out of water, are less likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than people who do not walk. Walk in place, lifting the legs up high. This benefits the heart and lungs. In addition to being a good cardiovascular workout, it helps to keep the bones strong.
Stand up on your toes as high as possible by the side of the pool, then relax between toe raises and let your heels fall slowly. This exercise will strengthen your feet and help to prevent heel and arch pain. Get in the water up to the knees, squat down with arms straight out, keeping knees slightly bent. Raise up slowly. This helps the back muscles and spine.
Proper stretching can improve your range of motion, release stiff joints, reduce muscle pain, and improve circulation and muscle tone. The exercise for this is to get into the water just about at, or above, waist level. Put your arms on your hips. Then, twist from side to side, stopping briefly whenever you come to the front. This is good for muscles and joints. Get in the water just above the waist and put hands on the hips. Lift one leg as high as possible, then the other leg, keeping the back straight. Point the knee of the raised leg in the opposite direction. Count each leg lift 15 times. This is good for lowering the blood pressure. Pretend swimming, standing still and stretching out one arm and the other arm. This is for all-around strength and flexibility, which stretches the hips, arms, and back. It also builds muscles and burns calories.
Play water volleyball. This uses a whole lot of muscles. You could say its a total body workout.
As summer comes to its end, your body will be tanned and toned. Your swimming fitness program will help you to:
Strengthen your heart and lungs.
Lower blood pressure.
Keep bones strong.
Have more energy.
Improve your sense of well-being.
Here's a quick and easy summer salad idea. Add a cup of fruits and/or vegetables, such as strawberries, peaches, blueberries, snow peas, cucumbers, or tomatoes to washed and dried spinach leaves. Dress with favorite dressing. The more brightly colored fruits and vegetables you add to your salad, the more nutrients you'll have.
"In 20 years, failure to exercise will seem as self-destructive as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day." - Henry S. Lodge, MD