The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week. Swimming is a great way to get this type of exercise on a regular basis, whether you swim at the gym or at home in your own underground pool. Today, we’re going to focus on how long you’ll need to swim to get a good workout and what you should consider when you choose swimming as a form of exercise.
The general recommendation for cardiovascular exercise like swimming is 3–5 times a week for 20 minutes at a time. That being said, you should start with what’s comfortable for you. If swimming to get a good workout is new for you, start on the low side and aim for 20 minutes per swim session at least three times a week.
It’s perfectly natural and healthy to take breaks once you complete laps. If this is what you normally do when swimming for exercise, account for these breaks. If you normally take a breather for a few minutes after each lap, add 10 extra minutes to your sessions. You’ll be in the pool for a total of 30 minutes, even though only 20 minutes of that time is actually spent swimming.
You’ll be more likely to stick to swimming as part of your workout routine if you count laps instead of minutes. In 20–30 minutes of swimming, most people can do 20–30 laps. In this example, you’d do one lap, take a short breather, and go for the next one until you’ve completed your total lap goal. Over time, you should be able to work up to more laps if you start on the low side with 20 laps.
How long you swim and how you structure your laps and pool-based workout will also depend on your specific goals. If you want to do basic conditioning or increase flexibility and muscle tone, you might prefer a 1,000-meter workout that can be done in roughly a half-hour period. A sample swim routine with these goals in mind involves:
• Trying a 2-lap, 100-meter warmup
• Alternating easy and fast laps 5 times each for 500 meters
• Mixing things up with laps that include kicking, backstrokes, and freestyle strokes
• Wrapping up your session with a 2-lap, 100-meter cool down
Once you get used to 20–30 minute sessions, feel free to extend your pool-based workouts as you become comfortable with your routine. Eventually, this might lead up to full hour sessions with a mix of swimming strokes and laps for a total of 3,000 meters or so.
Check with your doctor before you start regular swimming for the purpose of getting a good workout. It’s just as important to use your breaks from the pool to get other forms of exercise. Fortunately, you have plenty of options with both swimming and land-based workouts, so you should be able to find a balance that works well for you.
If you’re looking for the perfect way to boost your physical fitness levels, a pool can be exactly what you need. As an award-winning swimming pool builder San Diego families and businesses have trusted for more than four decades, San Diego Pools can create a custom pool for you that offers a great way to exercise as well as a place to relax and get away from it all. Give us a call today at 888-707-7786.