The Best Swim Workouts + 8 Key Benefits of Swimming

Swimming is a sport that we seem to do often when we’re young and then slack off on as we age. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in fact, 36 percent of children aged 7–17 years old swim at least six times a year, compared to only 15 percent of adults. (1)

But if you haven’t hit the pool in some time or find yourself swimming only during warmer months, you’re missing out. That’s because swim workouts are one of the best activities you can do for your body year-round. Read on to discover why it might be time to grab your goggles and swim cap.

8 Benefits of Swimming

There’s no such thing as a miracle workout but, if there was, swimming would be pretty high on the list. With both physical and mental benefits, swimming workouts can really improve your overall health in a short amount of time. And, luckily, you don’t need to be the next Michael Phelps to reap the effects either.

1. Your brain will work better. You’ll get more than just a swimmer’s body when you take up swim workouts; your brain will get a boost, too. Swimming has been found to increase blood flow to the brain, which leads to more oxygen. That means you’ll experience more alertness, better memory and cognitive function. (1)

One interesting study found that just being in a pool of warm water that’s at least chest-level can have a positive effect on blood flow to the brain; participants increased blood flow to their cerebral arteries by 14 percent. (2)

2. Swimming helps kids achieve. It turn out that getting little ones in the water early is a good idea as well. A study of 7,000 children under 5 years old found that children who participated in swimming at a young age achieved skills and reached physical milestones earlier than their non-swimming peers, regardless of socio-economic background. (3) Their literacy and numeric skills were better, too. Better get the floaties!

3. You’ll get a mood boost. If you only swim during the summer months, it’s time to break out your swimsuit during the winter. That’s because, despite the lower temperatures, one study found that swimmers who hit the pool regularly between October and January reported less fatigue, tension and memory loss. (4)

Not only that, but the swimmers who suffered from ailments like rheumatism, fibromyalgia or asthma found that wintertime swimming eased their aches and pains.

4. You’ll lower blood pressure. If you suffer from hypertension, swim workouts are an excellent way to lower resting blood pressure. One study found that, over a 10-week period, men and women who had previously been sedentary but had hypertension decreased their resting heart rate significantly. This is particularly useful for people who struggle with other exercises because of their weight, asthma or injuries. (5)

Another study found that after a year of swimming regularly, patients with hypertension lowered their blood pressure while also improving their insulin sensitivity, which is key to avoiding type 2 diabetes. (6)

5. You’ll live longer. If you’ve been comparing life extenders, swimming is another one to add to your list. One study of more than 40,000 men between 20–90 years old found that those participants who swam or did other pool exercises like water jogging or aqua aerobics lowered their risk of dying from any cause by nearly 50 percent than those men who were sedentary, walked regularly or were runners. (7)

6. You can reduce your risk of heart disease. In a study of patients with osteoarthritis, researchers found that swimming just as effective — and sometimes more so — as cycling in increasing cardiovascular function and reducing inflammation. (8)

7. You’ll reduce lower-back pain. Skip the painkillers and hit the pool instead. One study found that patients with lower back pain who did aquatic exercises at least twice a week showed significant improvement in pain. And after 6 months, 90 percent of the study’s participants felt they’d improved after their time in the program, no matter what their swimming ability was at the start of the study. (9)

8. It serves as an ideal alternative to high-impact exercise. Swimming uses muscles you don’t normally engage, is easy on the joints, making it a great alternative to high-impact activities and allows you to zone out without the fear of tripping on something like running.

In short, swimming is pretty darn awesome!

Does Swimming Work for Weight Loss?

Those other benefits are great, you say, but “I want to lose weight.” Does swimming work for weight loss? The answer is probably.

Like any other exercise, how effective swimming is for weight loss depends on a variety of factors: how long you’re swimming for, what you’re eating throughout the day and what you’re doing once you’re in the pool. If you spend most of your time adjusting your bathing suit instead of moving or swim dozens of laps but subsist on a fast food diet, chances are you’re not going to lose weight.

But let’s assume that you’re just a regular Jane or Joe who wants to incorporate swimming into your normal workout routine. Will swimming help you lose weight? This is where things can get a bit complicated. Studies about this are contradictory.

One study examined the effects of swimming and walking on body weight, fat distribution, lipids, glucose and insulin in older women. The study found that after six months, swimmers had reduced their waist and hip sizes more than walkers and had increased how far they could swim in 12 minutes; walkers hadn’t increased how far they could walk. And after a year, swimmers had reduced their body weight and cholesterol levels more than the walkers had. (10)

But other studies have found that swimming can increase people’s food consumption. And sometimes, swimmers haven’t lost any weight at all. But if you focus less on the numbers on the scale and instead on your body, you might find that swimming is the ideal workout for you, even if you aren’t dropping pounds.

For starters, swimming at a moderate pace also burns about 270 calories in just half hour. (11) Increase the intensity and you’re looking at about 700 calories an hour.

And unlike other workouts, like running or cycling, swimming isn’t only a cardio activity. Because water is denser than air — by nearly 800 times — every swimming workout becomes a strength training session, where you’re building muscle and tone along with burning calories with each stroke. Plus, you’re likely using muscles that you normally wouldn’t, meaning you’ll start to see definition in new places.

Another bonus is that swimming is gentle on your joints, so you’re unlikely to get injured in a pool. Unlike other exercises, unless you’re doing some seriously intense swimming, you don’t really need recovery time after pool exercises. And if you are recovering from an injury, swim workouts are an excellent way to keep moving while you recover

3 Swim Workouts for Different Levels

So you’re ready to hit the pool? It’s important to keep a few things in mind. For starters, swim workouts can be way more intense than you’d originally expect, because working out in the water is completely different than on land. You’re constantly in motion to keep yourself from sinking, your lungs are adjusting to breathing differently and muscles you didn’t know you had are in motion. In short, it’s tough!

When you’re first starting out, the best way to keep from feeling too winded too soon is by divvying up your workout into a few short intervals. You’ll want to vary the strokes, the intensity and rest periods as well. You can also add some pool toys to change things up, like using a kickboard to tone thighs or play water sports with friends.

For each workout below, the goal will be given along with expected strokes and distances. Why do more strokes than just the crawl? Variety plus gives your muscles a break. Remember, an Olympic-sized swimming pool is 50 meters long, so one “lap” would be 100 meters.

Remember, please consult your doctor before beginning any type of training program.

1. Beginner Swim Workout

The principal goal is to learn the four major strokes — the crawl or freestyle, the backstroke, the breaststroke and the butterfly — and swim continuously without taking breaks, aided by breathing properly.

Workout distance: 700 meters

Beginner workout (rest between each set):

2 x 50 meter crawl (warmups)
2 x 50 meter backstroke (focus on swimming straight)
2 x 50 meter breaststroke (focus on technique)
2 x 50 meter butterfly (if you can’t do butterfly, then do crawl)
2 x 100 meter IM (25 meters of each: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, crawl)
2 x 50 meter crawl (cool-down)
2. Intermediate Swim Workout

Until you’ve mastered the butterfly, you shouldn’t advance to this workout. Here the goal is to improve your swim technique for all four strokes and develop excellent breathing.

Workout distance: 1500 meters

Intermediate workout (rest after each 100 meters or lap if need):

300 meters warmup (alternate the four strokes)
4 x 100 meters IM (“sprint” 1st and 3rd lap, swim easy on 2nd and last IM)
4 x 50 meters breaststroke
4 x 50 meters butterfly
4 x 50 meters backstroke
200 meters cool-down (alternate the four strokes)
3. Advanced Swim Workout

Advanced swim workouts includes more challenging swimming drills and breathing technique. These drills will develop into a very strong swimmer with outstanding stamina.

Workout distance:

300 meters crawl warmup
4 x 200 meters with alternate breathing (50 meters every 6th stroke; 50 meters every 5th; 50 meters every fourth; 50 meters every 3rd)
3 x 100 meters (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke)
8 x 50 meters sprints (swim each without taking a breath; rest briefly after each)
8 x 25 meters sprints (swim each without taking a breath; rest briefly after each)
4 x 100 meters IM (rest 30–60 seconds after each 100)
300 meters cool-down (alternate the four strokes)
Swimming Precautions
Happily, swimming is one of the sports where you’re least likely to injure yourself. However, it does require an adjustment from the way you operate on land so, if you’re not an experienced swimmer or have health issues, particularly cardiovascular disease, you should contact your doctor to ensure that striking up a swimming routine is safe. And if you’re unsure about how to swim, full stop, well, now is the time to get a lesson! Most community pools offer adult swimming lessons throughout the year.

Easy on your wallet, swimming doesn’t require any gear except for a swimsuit. If you’re hitting the pool regularly, you should get a pair of swimming goggles so that you don’t have to worry about chlorine flying in your eyes. And ladies, you might want to invest in a swim cap — although it’s not particularly stylish looking, it’ll protect your hair from the chemicals from the water so it doesn’t start feeling rough or get discolored (if you dye your hair, this is a must!).

Finally, giving yourself time to adjust in the pool is crucial to sticking to your swim workouts. Because it’s so different from working out on land, it might take you a bit to get the hang of how your body feels while moving in water, and that’s totally okay! Swim workouts are some of the most forgiving.

Final Thoughts
While swimming is popular with children and tapers off as we age, it’s one of the best workouts we can give our body.
The benefits of swimming workouts are vast and range from improving your brain function and mood to reducing your risk of heart disease and living longer.
While the jury is still deciding on whether swimming is the best workout for weight loss, it’s excellent for keeping in shape and building muscle tone.
Not only is swimming a cardio workout, but it’s strength training as well. Hello, muscles!
Ease into pool workouts to ensure you feel comfortable and maintain them.

Source: Dr. Axe | Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

Do You Have Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis causes inflammation and degeneration of the achilles tendon. The achilles tendon is the large tendon located in the back of the leg that inserts into the heel. The pain caused by achilles tendonitis can develop gradually without a history of trauma. The pain can be a shooting pain, burning pain, or even an extremely piercing pain. Achilles tendonitis should not be left untreated due to the danger that the tendon can become weak and ruptured.   Achilles Tendonitis is aggravated by activities that repeatedly stress the tendon, causing inflammation. In some cases even prolonged periods of standing can cause symptoms. It is a common problem often experienced by athletes, particularly distance runners. Achilles Tendonitis is a difficult injury to treat in athletes due to their high level of activity and reluctance to stop or slow down their training.   Individuals who suffer from achilles tendonitis often complain that their first steps out of bed in the morning are extremely painful. Another common complaint is pain after steps are taken after long periods of sitting. This pain often lessens with activity.

There are several factors that can cause achilles tendonitis. The most common cause is over-pronation. Over-pronation occurs in the walking process, when the arch collapses upon weight bearing, adding stress on the achilles tendon.   Other factors that lead to achilles tendonitis are improper shoe selection, inadequate stretching prior to engaging in athletics, a short achilles tendon, direct trauma (injury) to the tendon, and heel bone deformity.

Athletes, particularly runners, should incorporate a thorough stretching program to properly warm-up the muscles. They should decrease the distance of their walk or run, apply ice after the activity and avoid any uphill climbs. Athletes should use an orthotic device, heel cup, or heel cradle for extra support.   A heel cup or heel cradle elevates the heel to reduce stress and pressure on the achilles tendon. The device should be made with light-weight, shock absorbing materials. An orthotic device like Lynco can be used to control over-pronation, support the longitudinal arch, and reduce stress on the achilles tendon.

Mens-Lynco

Buy Lynco Men’s orthotics: Here

Womens-Lynco

Buy Lynco Women’s orthotics: Here

DISCLAIMER:  THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE IS NOT PROVIDED BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.  THE INFORMATION ON THIS SITE IS NOT MEANT TO SUBSTITUTE CONSULTING WITH YOUR PODIATRIST, DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL. THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON OR THROUGH THIS SITE IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, INFLUENCE TREATMENT OR CURE ANY FOOT OR OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS NOR IS IT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE SERVICES OR ADVICE OF A PODIATRIST, PHYSICIAN, OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.  YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT A PHYSICIAN LICENSED IN YOUR STATE IN ALL MATTERS RELATING TO YOUR HEALTH.

Natural Remedies For Spring Allergies

When you are exposed to allergy inducing grasses or pollen, your body responds by producing histamine, which leads to all the awful allergy symptoms many of us have come to dread.  By taking an anti-histamine – preferably before exposure to allergens – your cells are able to resist the binding of histamine, which then spares you from experiencing these dreadful symptoms. Whenever possible, I always prefer to use natural alternatives over medications. Here are some great natural alternatives you can use this allergy season.

Apple Cider Vinegar: It’s not the best tasting stuff on the planet, but it has powerful health benefits, including aiding digestion, supporting weight loss and thinning mucous. Its ability to reduce mucous production and cleanse the lymphatic system makes it useful for allergies. To use, take a teaspoon of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with “The Mother” (the mother is important), pour into a glass of water and drank this three times a day.

Neti Pot or Xlear Nasal Rinse/Spray

Flushing the nose out with a sterile solution helps remove allergens, which in turn reduces allergy symptoms. I like xlear nasal spray better than saline spray, as the xlear contains xylitol which helps keeps tissues moistened, rather than drying out as saline can.

Nettle Leaf

Nettle leaf is a natural antihistamine that can be very effective because it naturally blocks the body’s ability to produce histamine. It can be made into a tincture, tea or capsules. Personally, I prefer capsules as they’re just easier.  Nettle leaf can be mixed with peppermint leaf or red raspberry leaf to make a refreshing allergy relief tea.

Local, Raw Honey

It is said that consuming local honey from where you live will help your body adapt to the allergens in the environment there. Almost like a natural allergy “shot” because it exposes your system to small amounts of the allergens so your body can build up tolerance. Enjoy a teaspoon or more of raw, local honey from as close to where you live as possible – start doing this one month before allergy season to see the most benefits.

Probiotics

Allergies are caused by an imbalance in our immune systems that causes our body to react too strongly to external stimuli. Therefore, it stands to reason that healing our gut with healthy bacteria can help to reduce our reaction to allergens. Fermented foods, probiotic powders/capsules and drinks like Kombucha or Kimchi can be great for supporting a healthy gut.

Lavender Essential Oils

Lavender essential oil is a natural anti-histamine, and anti-inflammatory. . .  which is exactly what you want to safely and effectively conquer your seasonal allergies. Not only does it have great benefits for dealing with allergies, but it smells great too! You can diffusing lavender at bedside while sleeping, applying lavender to the soles of the feet, rubbing lavender on the face after washing, taking lavender orally in capsules. I use Young Living brand, therapeutic grade oils.

Himalayan Salt Lamp

Himalayan salt lamps can help clear the air of impurities. They also look naturally beautiful and are very peaceful, which I just love! Salt lamps are a nice (and attractive) way to keep the air in your home clear of impurities. Simply turn it on and let it get to work while you bask in its soft glow!

DISCLAIMER:  THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE IS NOT PROVIDED BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.  THE INFORMATION ON THIS SITE IS NOT MEANT TO SUBSTITUTE CONSULTING WITH YOUR PODIATRIST, DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL. THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON OR THROUGH THIS SITE IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, INFLUENCE TREATMENT OR CURE ANY FOOT OR OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS NOR IS IT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE SERVICES OR ADVICE OF A PODIATRIST, PHYSICIAN, OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.  YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT A PHYSICIAN LICENSED IN YOUR STATE IN ALL MATTERS RELATING TO YOUR HEALTH.

How To Achieve Healthy, Glowing Skin Naturally, According To Science

By Arrianne Del Rosario

No amount of makeup can compete with the confidence a healthy and naturally glowing skin can bring. While there are treatments and procedures one can undergo to achieve a radiant complexion, nothing beats going au naturel.

Check out these practical skincare tips, which are all backed by science and experts swear by, on how to get that glowing skin naturally.

It Ain’t Called ‘Beauty Sleep’ For Nothing

A lot of people underestimate the power of sleep on health, particularly on skin health. As part of its rest and rejuvenation process, sleep replenishes the body with collagen and elastin, the skin’s connective tissue responsible for firmness, tone, and elasticity, Dr. Ava Shamban, dermatologist and founder of Ava MD Skincare, explains.

Insufficient sleep triggers a surge in inflammatory cells in the body, leading to breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, which give the skin a natural glow and clarity.

Say Cheers To Flawless Skin

Other than the sweet rosy color it gives the cheeks with every sip, research reveals other skin benefits one can get from red wine.

A 2015 study published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy have made the amazing discovery that the resveratrol found in red wine (in combination with benzoyl peroxide, a topical acne medication) amazingly gets rid of Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), which is a type of pesky pimple-causing bacteria.

Resveratrol, a potent antioxidant and polyphenol, has long been lauded for its boons on heart health. But recently, more experts are recognizing its positive effects on skincare too, including preventing wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging of the skin.

Hot Shower Is Bad For Your Skin

There’s no arguing that a hot, steamy shower or a soak in the tub can be super soothing, especially after a long day at work. While it’s the best stress-buster and nasal relief one can get for free, experts say it can actually be bad for the skin.

According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), frequent exposure to hot water can inflame the skin and cause redness, itching, and peeling as if it’s sunburnt. It can also strip the skin of its innate moisture balance, which is key to a naturally glowing skin.

Clean Your Smartphone Real Good

A research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology discovered that smartphones carry higher levels of disgusting germs and bacteria than a public toilet. Yes, we’re talking about the same smartphones, whether Android or iPhone, that people can’t let go of and put near their faces when answering a call.

Because it’s impossible to scrub smartphones clean without ruining them, the best thing that one can do is to wipe it down with an antibacterial wipe every now and then during the day to lessen the risks of getting in contact with potential skin-irritating contaminants.

Source: Tech Times | Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

Paleo Slow Cooker Creamy Southwest Chicken

I love a good zesty recipe! I especially love when I can find something that is healthy AND has amazing flavor. This recipe definitely fits the bill!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1.5 lbs boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch*
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ½ cup coconut cream or coconut milk (full fat)
  • Fresh cilantro to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

See original blog post for full recipe…enjoy!