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How to bring exercise to the backyard: Swimming

By Kristine Archer

Traditional swimming is an excellent way to improve your overall health. The activity can enhance your cardiovascular health, help you drop a few of those extra pounds and lead to better muscle tone and increased flexibility.

Depending on your intensity and speed, you can burn up to 500 calories per hour when swimming. Of course, different swimming strokes will reap different benefits. Some common strokes include:
● Freestyle/crawl: This might be the most familiar swimming stroke of them all. You lie on your stomach, moving your arms in an alternating windmill motion, moving into and out of the water as they rotate, while you kick your legs, in an alternating flutter motion underwater. Freestyle swimming can help tone your chest, upper arms, shoulders and thighs.
● Backstroke: This is, in essence, the same as the freestyle, except in this case, you lie on your back in the water. The same alternating arm and leg motions are used and the same muscles are exercised (though in a slightly different manner).
● Breaststroke: This more complicated stroke starts with you lying on your stomach. You extend your arms in front of you, pulling back towards your body through the water in a sweeping motion to propel yourself forward (keep you hands cupped). Meanwhile, pull your knees towards your chest, then thrust your legs backward and snap them together for added propulsion. For reference, think of a frog’s legs as he swims through a pond. This stroke works the chest, arms and thighs, among other muscles.

 

This blog entry is article 4 of 6 on How to Bring Exercise to the Backyard

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