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Fitness for All: It's Swimming Season

With the warm weather comes the opening of public pools and home pools and people break out the bathing suit for another season of swimming. For many people, swimming is a good way to wind down after a long day.  But others are using swimming as another means of exercise and they are finding that exercise in the spring and summertime can be fun!

Swimming Season

Swimming is an excellent way to lose weight and strength train all the while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

Exercise experts recommend swimming as a form of exercise because of the great cardiovascular workout you get from swimming.  It is considered a great aerobic exercise because by definition it is an action that maintains an elevated heartbeat for a minimum of 20 minutes.

You can simply add swimming to your pre-existing aerobic workout to help switch things up and keep your workouts fresh.  Alternate days that you decide to use swimming as your cardio for that day, so you don't get bored with any one workout.

Like any exercise, you should also start any swimming workout routine by stretching first. You may not realize the affect swimming has on your entire body until it is too late, so be sure to stretch appropriately before you begin. Then start off slow by swimming strides and gradually increasing your speed in the pool.  This will help to elevate your heart rate at a safe pace and help you to last longer during your workout.

Swimming, and using swimming as your key workout, is more about endurance than quickness.  Experts suggest starting out swimming laps for approximately 20 minutes for women and 30 minutes for men.  You can begin to increase your time as necessary and as you continue your workout over the course of weeks or months.

Again, this will prevent you from getting too tired, too sore, wore out or disappointed in your swimming workout. Try out different strokes when you are swimming, too.  Do some laps using the breaststroke, then switch up and do the backstroke, or even the doggy paddle.  Each swimming stroke using a different variety of muscles and therefore will give you the best overall workout.

Fitness for All: Resistance Band Workouts

If you are looking for something different to do to change your typical workout routine, pick up a set of resistance bands and give some of these exercises a try!

resistance band exercises Resistance band workouts

Front Squat - Stand on a tube band with the feet slightly wider than your shoulders and center of the band between the feet. Holding a handle in each hand, bring the top of the band over each shoulder, securing the band in place by crossing your arms at your chest. Sit straight down, chest up, abs firm, pressing your knees out over your toes. Rise back up to start position and repeat for 8-12 reps.

Bent Over Row - Stand over the center of the band with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend slightly at the knees and hinge at the waist, keeping your hips back. Grasp each handle with hands facing the outside of your knees. With elbows bent, pull the band up toward your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Lower and row for 10-12 reps.

Bench Press - Anchor a tube band on the bench legs, and lie on the bench, face up. Grabbing a handle in each hand. position them at shoulder

height (so your thumbs touch the front of your shoulders). Extend the arms straight up overhead to full extension, moving your hands toward each other at the top. Lower back down and repeat for 10-12 reps.

Overhead Press - Stand over the center of a tube band with feet shoulder-width apart. Grip each handle, positioning your hands at shoulder level with palms facing each other so your thumbs touch your shoulders. Press straight up, rotating your palms forward as you fully extend your arms. Lower back down slowly and repeat for 8-10 reps.

Russian Twist - Sit on the floor with legs extended, wrapping the center of the band around the bottom of your feet. Hold the free ends in each hand. Slightly bend your knees, keeping your feet on the floor, and lean back at a 45-degree angle. Rotate the band right by bringing your left hand across your body and your right hand down by your right hip. Contracting your oblique muscles, bring the band toward your right hip while keeping your middle and low back neutral. Return to starting position and rotate left then right for a total of 10-12 reps on each side.

Fitness for All: Spring Cleaning Workout

Sure, you would be hard-pressed to find a woman or a man who says that they actually enjoy the thoughts of spring cleaning.  But, if you just take into consideration how many calories are burned while you are doing your spring cleaning, then you may be a little more excited when spring rolls around this year.

spring cleaning workout Spring cleaning exercises

The actual number of calories burned will depend on your weight, gender and age, but their calculators that you can find online (FitDay or NutriStrategy) that will help you to calculate your actual calories burned.

So, dust off your mops, break out the cleaner and begin to sweat off the weight!

Editor's Note: The calories burned estimates listed here are based on one hour of cleaning for a 155-pound woman.

Gardening: 226 calories 

Window washing: 226 calories 

Scrubbing floors (on hands and knees): 291 calories 

Laundry, ironing: 84 calories 

Sewing repairs: 36 calories 

Dusting: 97 calories 

Scrubbing toilets, tub: 246 calories 

Vacuuming: 317 calories 

Cleaning gutters: 258 calories 

Moving furniture, household items: 387 calories 

Painting, papering, plastering: 317 calories

Sweeping: 194 calories

Mopping: 153 calories

Healthy Living: Joining a Gym- Things to Know Before Signing Up

When making the decision to join a gym, one may find themselves with more questions than answers.

Fitness experts suggest the following pieces of advice that may help you when it comes time to choose the right gym for your needs:

Joining a gym Tips on joining a gym

  • Location, location location. Location is one key aspect in deciding what gym may work best for you.  Chances are that if your gym isn't close to your home or workplace, then it will become a hardship to you to try and get to the gym on a regular basis.  Plus, there is always the benefit of saving gas money if you choose a gym that is relatively close to your home or office.
  • Research the gym. Find out important details about each gym that you are considering starting your membership with. How much does it cost? What services do they offer that are included in your membership fees? Are lockers an additional cost?  Is there a discount for seniors or students?  By asking the right questions you will find out everything you need to know about the gym before you hand over any money.
  • Knowing the hours that the gym is open is a very important. If you would prefer to do your workout before work, then the gym you choose needs to be open prior to your work hours.  If you would like to work out after work, the gym needs to be open later at night.  Choosing the right time to go to the gym is important, as is whether the gym is extremely busy at that time.  If you are constantly waiting around to use equipment because the gym is overcrowded at certain times, you may want to choose a different gym that is more accommodating or has more equipment.
  • Comfort in the gym. When you enter the gym, do you feel comfortable with the way it is set up, the cleanliness of the gym and the way the other members act towards one another? If you are going to be spending your hard-earned money, then you need to feel comfortable in the gym.  Cleanliness is also important and will let you know how the owners take care of the gym.