As temperatures begin to rise, outdoor workouts may begin to lose their appeal. We have the perfect warm-weather workout solution: Hit the pool!
Swimming serves as both cardio and strength training, so you’re getting a two-for-one workout without the sweat. Plus, athletes and non-athletes of all skillsets and ages can hit the pool for muscle toning, as well as a healthier heart and lungs.
Though you might not realize it when you’re doing laps, swimming builds endurance and cardiovascular fitness, improves strength and helps maintain weight. Swimming targets all areas of the body — arms, legs, core, glutes and back. It also helps with aerobic endurance, strength and flexibility simultaneously.
The Health Benefits of Swimming
Because you’re in water, the stress on your body is also reduced — making it an ideal workout for all ages and fitness levels. Swimming is often recommended as an alternative exercise for pregnant women and people with arthritis, because the water takes the pressure off your joints and can even help prevent injury. It can also be helpful for people with diabetes and high cholesterol.
It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. Once you have the go ahead, just hit the water and go as fast or as slow as you’d like. Even walking or simply moving your body against the water’s resistance is a perfect way to get started.
Where to Begin
If you’re just getting started, be sure to take it easy. You likely won’t be able to swim for 30 minutes straight, but you can work your way up. Start with 5-10 minutes of laps (freestyle is the go-to stroke for most beginners) and work your way up.
In addition to traditional laps, try doing laps with a kickboard or use only arms and hand paddles to pull yourself through the water.
As you get more comfortable, work on your form and endurance. When you’re ready, diversify your stroke.
As a beginner, you’ll probably do 500-750 yards. Once you hit intermediate, aim for 1,000-1,250 yards and try some new strokes like breaststroke or butterfly that will work different areas of your body.
Now, you’re the expert! Write up your own workout, and be sure to mix it up throughout the week. Include everything from flutter kicks with fins to breathing exercises and sprints to challenge yourself. Depending on the intensity of your workout, you may want to try to swim as much as 1,500-1,800 yards (equivalent to a little more than one mile in the water!).
Where You Can Dive In
Now that you know how great swimming is for your health, you just need to find your favorite pool.
- Northwest Pool (indoor): 2925 Apollo Way. Lap and public swim times available Sunday – Friday.
- Idlewild Pool (outdoor): 1805 Idlewild Dr. Opening in June.
- Traner Pool (outdoor): 1600 Carville Dr. Closed until 2018 season.
- Alf Sorensen Community Center (indoor): 1400 Baring Blvd. Lap swim available Monday–Thursday and Saturdays.
- Deer Park Pool (outdoor): 1700 Prater Way. Opens May 27.
- Sparks Marina (outdoor): 300 Howard Dr. Only allowed in the marked swim area at the north beach when lifeguards are on duty, weather permitting. Opens May 27.
Carson City/Carson Valley
- Carson Aquatic Facility (indoor and outdoor): 841 North Roop St., Carson City. Lap and public swim times available Monday–Saturday.
- Carson Valley Swim Center (indoor and outdoor): 1600 NV-88, Minden. Lap and public swim times available all week.
A number of gyms and athletic centers in the Truckee Meadows also offer indoor and outdoor pools for lap swimming and classes, like water aerobics.
Take Advantage of Your Favorite Watering Hole
Keep in mind, if you decide to swim in open water — like Lake Tahoe or Donner — you need to take some extra precautions. Make sure you know how to stay safe in water with currents, high water levels or other obstacles, and keep an eye on the water temperature. Also, be sure to notify a loved one where you’ll be and when you’ll return.
And now you’re ready: Jump into the deep end (metaphorically, of course) and prep your body for the best summer ever!