Yesterday was the hottest day of the year. I went to my local lake and swam for my workout. Here are some tips on how you can skip the usual workout and swim for both recovery and variety in your functional fitness regimen. You will help your recovery and make your fitness experience remain fun.
If you have a nearby lake, good. First, check to be sure the water is safe to swim in. There are health issues now that were not present a decade or two ago. Try to find a place away from homes and public restrooms. They can have septic systems that leak into the lake. That was the case at my nearby lake until it was fixed. Also, check to be sure that your local lake does not have any problems with the amoeba that causes meningitis. That would be a deal-breaker.
If you are lucky enough to have a nearby lake that is safe to swim in, good. There are many ways to swim for exercise. My favorite is to jump right in and start slow. The swim can be both the warmup and the workout. Try to find a landmark to swim to and from. It may be a swimmers' buoy or maybe the other side of the lake. For the first lap to your marker, take it slow. This is your warmup. Alternate the usual crawl with slow breaststroke with your head above water. Use swim goggles. They can be gotten almost anywhere now.
When you reach your marker, rest. Take it easy and stretch and relax. Stand or hold the bouy for a few minutes to recover from the warmup. Then start the real workout. Swim back to your starting point fast with a crawl. Twist your body to extend your reach for each hand. This will accelerate your pace and give better exercise for your chest, shoulder, and arm muscles. Do not forget to kick for your leg exercise.
When you reach the starting point, rest again. Then repeat the process back to the other side. Rest and return to the starting point at a reduced pace. This should take about half an hour and be a great workout. I alternate these swim workouts with sandbag and other traditional functional fitness workouts every other workout in August and into September.
If you have a nearby river that is clean enough to swim, good. Here is another tip for swim workouts. After a slow warmup, choose a marker and swim upstream against the current. Try to see how far you can get. When done, swim back downstream for rest. Then repeat.
If you are using a swimming pool, you have plenty of options. The first and most obvious is to swim laps up and down the pool. This is of course limited to the length of the pool and the amount of people in it. Many swimmers in pools do not like people swimming laps. Try to get along. But there are more options to use in swimming pools. You can actually do strength training in a swimming pool. Here are a few ideas. You can stand in waist deep water and put your hands on the side of the pool. Then you can do a getup and push yourself up with your hands and land on your feet outside the pool on its edge. It is tougher than it sounds. You will have to adjust your depth to fit your strength level. It is a great way to do upper body strength training in a pool. It is also good if the pool is crowded with those not tolerant of your lap swimming. Another way to do upper body strength training in a pool is to use the handles of the ladder to do one-arm pullups. It is a pretty good way to work your arms and back. I am sure there are more ways to use a swimming pool. Let me know if you have some more.
These are some great ways to do outdoor workouts even in the hottest days of the year. Keep it fun! Our training page has lots of sandbag training tips.