From The Gym To the Pool: The Benefits Of Swimming

Moving away from the gym for this post – swimming is a well known as a brilliant all-round full body exercise and workout. Recommended by many fitness experts and personal trainers, going for a swim benefits the body and the kind, and is fun as well.

Further, you can adapt your swim to your needs and preferences. You can pit yourself against the clock, and race through 30/40 laps as if competing for the Olympics, or go through 60/70 laps ad if preparing for a long distance, cross Channel swim. It also does not matter whether you are the graceful butterfly swimmer, the plodding backstroke swimmer, or the one perfecting your best doggy paddle; swimmers of all ability are seen in the pool.

Going for a regular session in the pool is good for your health, your fitness and can even help you lose weight. If you are nervous in the water, or a weak or inexperienced swimmer, it is s never too late to have lessons, or to improve. Most pools and centres have a wide range of classes for different ages and swimming abilities.

One of the many benefits of swimming regularly is that it may help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases in some people. The full body workout can also improve your overall wellbeing – both physical and mental.  Recent studies and reports highlight how swimming cuts men’s risk of dying early by about 50% when compared to runners, walkers and above all to those who don’t do any regular physical activity. The same studies found that regular swimming is also great for both sexes because the vigorous activity is highly likely to actually reduce stroke, heart disease and Type-2 Diabetes by about 535 cases in 100,000 people.

Long standing and often ignored NHS guidelines on health and exercise suggest that adults should do at least 30 minutes (preferably more) of moderate-intensity activity on five or more days a week. Swimming for 30-minutes at your local pool on one or more days of the week will count greatly towards that recommended weekly activity target. However, any amount of time exercising, regardless of how long or short, is good for your health and fitness.

Another of the numerous benefits of swimming is that whilst swimming the motions will take over and become automatic, allowing you to let your mind float away. Once you get into it, swimming can become almost like a meditative trance, and therefore a gear way to clear your mind. Similarly, swimming van help to de-stress after a long hard day for similar reasons. Swimming can offer a sense of mental wellbeing; something which can’t easily be measured but is anecdotally mentioned by thousands of participants in the recent studies and reports. It is that sense of wellbeing and mental clarity that can also bring great (mental and emotional) health to regular swimmers.

One significant reason why swimming is considered a great form of exercise is, amongst other things, swimming can often support up to 90% of the body’s weight in the water. Those who are overweight, have disabilities, or have sustained certainly significant injuries, can go swimming without putting so much strain on their bodies.

Further, swimming essentially gives you a full body workout. The motions of swimming use muscles in the core, chest, legs, back, shoulders and even hands. Indeed, if you swim for long and hard enough, you can create aerobic and anaerobic circuits and routines to greatly improve your cardiovascular fitness. According to swim coach Nikki Geelan swimming “is one of a few sports that covers the three S’s …. stamina, suppleness and strength… It’s not weight bearing so is good exercise for people with joint problems. It also works all of the major muscle groups in the body.”

There is a lot more to said in favour of swimming as a form of exercise – all of which are covered in Part 2, Swimming: Weight Loss, The Pool & Beyond.

 

Nine Tips To Get Rid Of Stubborn Fat: From Protein To Weights

Many personal trainers and coaches get asked one question a lot. Many of those who go to the gym, or who take part in recreational competitive sports, often have a similar goal. When devising a gym routine, or considering exercise sets and reps, for many there is one thing they are seeking to do. Or many, their motivation and rationale for going to the gym, or adapting to a healthy lifestyle, can be summed up in this one thing. Indeed, there is a multi-million pound industry, comprising exercises, diets, organised events and foods, all centred on this one thing.

Worked out what it is yet? Of course you have!

Fat. Or rather, fat loss, particularly stubborn fat.

Fat loss is a major theme often asked of many a fitness or nutrition expert. There is much that has already been said and to fully cover that would take several posts. However, nine suggestions and advice often given by the experts is below.

 

  1. Be in a Calorie Deficit (burn more calories than you eat)

Essentially, this means burning more calories in exercise and physical exertion than you eat. This in turn means watching carefully what you eat, and considering your food in line with your level of physical activity.

  1. Eat enough Protein

As a general rule, this usually means eating around 1.2 grams of protein for each pound of body weight. Protein helps to build and strengthen muscle, and will not add to the body’s stores of fats. Indeed, protein significantly helps in muscle growth – which in turn helps your body lose fat based weight. It’s not easy consuming that amount of protein consistently thought diet alone, so supplementing with a whey protein shake can help.

  1. Reduce your Alcohol Intake

This one may be hard, as everyone enjoys the odd drink – especially in social settings. The point here is to drink moderately, and not to drink to excess, or to binge drink. The basis of many alcoholic drinks are actually often high in fat or carbohydrate content; this is especially so of beer. Many spirits are often grain based (vodka being a good example), and therefore add to your body’s fat stores. Fat loss; another reason to drink in moderation!

  1. Lift Weights

Lifting weights, around 3 – 4 times a week, can, surprisingly, give significant results in your efforts to lose fat. Lifting weights helps to create muscle tissue to ensure efficient weight loss. Also, for some, fat around the arms and shoulders can be something they are seeking to reduce; lifting weights targets those muscles in most cases, making it the perfect exercise for that purpose.

 

It must be stressed that there are a great many ways to effectively lose fat. Those methods also do not necessarily involve exercises. Every personal trainer, coach and nutritionist has their own suggested and recommended methods, with this list just setting out nine of the most common recommended methods for fat loss.

It is a subject that much can be – and has been – written about and discussed. For the remainder of this list of nine suggested fat loss tips, see Nine Tips To Get Rid Of Stubborn Fat (2): From Rest To Stress

 

Tips For Preparing For Your First Marathon

There are many reasons why people compete in marathons. It is a test of physical strength, determination, and it is an opportunity to support a charitable organization. However, if this is your first marathon, then there are several things that you need to be aware of to not only ensure that you enjoy your experience, but you do so safely.

 

Timing is Essential When it Comes to Marathon Training

It is recommended that 26 weeks is devoted to training, especially if this is your first marathon. Training will ensure that your muscles are conditioned for extended movement, can help improve endurance, and will mentally prepare you for a 26.2-mile marathon.

This is your first marathon – there will most likely be an issue leading up to the event. There are so many life events that can hinder training, especially if you have less than 26 weeks to do so. Traveling, sickness, and your job, can all hinder training progress. Extended training will help you accommodate if there are any hiccups during training.

 

Don’t Ever Run With a Full Stomach

It is recommended that you do not eat for about two hours before a marathon. If you do not wait long enough, the food will not be properly digested, and you may be a vomiting spectacle – or worse.

 

Do Not Endure Pain and Injury

Marathon running is largely automatic, with the same movement and same muscle group being engaged throughout the event. If something hurts while you are running for two days straight, then you should take a two-day rest. Depending on your physical fitness, it may be appropriate to take 4 to 5 days to ensure that aching muscles are properly acclimated.

 

Crazy Glucose Levels are not Your Friend

Glucose is your body’s go-to energy source. But the wrong sports drink at the wrong time can cause nausea and a sugar crash that can negatively affect your running. The best practice is to consume drinks that can replace some – not all – of the energy that is lost during the marathon as your body can only process so much glucose.

 

Happy Feet Make all the Difference When it Comes to a Marathon

Poorly made running shoes will only cause plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and poor form. After identifying if you have flat, high, or neutral arches, make sure to try on several pairs of shoes. Compared to street shoes, most running shoes would need to go up half a size.

 

Make Sure That You Pick the Right Marathon for Yourself

Outside of picking and choosing a marathon that is most important to you, you also need to be cognizant of any budget constraints and the time of year that the marathon will take place in. Costs can differ tremendously, but it’s usually best to attend a local marathon to shave off traveling costs. Fall races tend to be most popular, as temperatures will be cool and comfortable for longer runs.