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The Perfect Summertime Work Out: Using the Pool for More than Just Catching Some Rays

Written by Lisa Jillanza

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 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.

Instead of staying indoors and using the treadmill or elliptical for a day, get outdoors and swim laps in the pool for the cardio portion of your workout and you will find that exercising comes much easier when you aren't sticking to the same routine day in and day out.

Like any exercise, you should also start any swimming workout routine by stretching first. You may not realize the effect 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.

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.

Planning Your Next Vacation? Don't Forget to Plan in Exercise!

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Everyone looks forward to that one or two weeks out of the year when they get to take a break from their daily work or at-home duties and go on vacation. Vacation is the perfect time to relax, unwind and have a great time with friends and family.

While vacation is a time to unwind and relax, it is not a time to take a break from your daily fitness routines. Just because you are away from your home gym or from the gym you visit to get into shape, doesn't mean that you can't get your exercise elsewhere.

Being on vacation is a great time to try something different with your cardio workout. Remembering to keep your routine different each day will help you to enjoy your vacation and exercise even more.

Try these great cardio workouts while on vacation:

Surfing, swimming or snorkeling: While you may not be the “hang ten” type, even attempting surfing can be an excellent form of exercise. Snorkeling is more laid back and still provides a great workout and we all know that swimming is an excellent form of exercise for all of your major muscle groups.

Walking or running on the beach: Experts have said that walking or running on the beach burns more calories than running or walking on a flat surface, thereby making this an excellent vacation workout for anyone.

Biking: Biking trails and biking in general is a great form of exercise and it a great way to get around on vacation. You won't be burning up gas in a car to get around and you'll be giving your body a pretty intense workout.

Hiking: Many families choose the outdoors instead of the beach for their vacation, which allows for another great workout by hiking trails and through the mountains. Adding elevation and a backpack to your hike helps you to burn additional calories.

Beach volleyball: You don't have to be a professional volleyball player in order to get a great workout by playing beach volleyball. Besides burning more than 150 calories per hour, playing beach volleyball is a great way to meet some new people while on vacation.

Play golf: Many of you are probably saying, “Play golf? Now that's up my alley.” You may not realize this, but playing golf is an excellent form or exercise and is also a great way to relax the day away while you are on vacation. By carrying your clubs and walking the course, you can burn 200 to 300 calories per hour and you'll be exercising even though you might not realize it.

Shopping: Yes, men, believe it or not, when your lady decides to take a day out of vacation and get some shopping in, she is actually getting in a pretty decent work out. While this workout is a leisurely one it can still be a good form of exercise with all of the walking and heavy lifting/carrying that could ensue.

So whether you decide to hit up the beach volleyball court and try your hand at surfing, or if you just go shopping and take a walk on the beach, there are plenty of ways that you can get a good workout while you are on vacation.

This way, when you return home you will not only be well rested, but you won't be out any fitness time and can jump right back into your normal routine without starting fresh.

 

Straight From the Headlines: Exercising with Allergies

Written by Lisa Jillanza

For those who suffer from seasonal allergies it seems very hard to get outdoors and enjoy the spring weather because of all of the allergens. But thanks to recent report put out by Penn State University, researchers offer these tips to exercise with allergies.

Run early in the morning or later in the evening when it is damper out and less pollen is in the air.

Wear sunglasses to rebound any pollen from getting into your eyes.

Shower immediately following being outdoors exercising and use a neti pot to clean any pollen or allergens out of your nose.

Try swimming and water-based exercise if the pollen and allergens are still getting the best of you.

How Fit Are You?

Written by Lisa Jillanza

If you are looking to “get fit” in 2012, take these three self tests to find out how fit you are first!

1. How are your muscles? Do some push-ups. A 30-year old man should be able to 35 push-ups while a 30-year old woman should be able to do 45, while her knees are on the floor. For every decade after 30, the amount of push-ups decreases by 5 for each gender.

2. How is your flexibility? Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, slightly apart. Extend your arms placing your one hand on top of your other hand, fingertips forward and reach for the space in between your feet. Women under the age of 46 should be able to reach at least two to four inches past your feet. Older women should be able to reach the soles of their feet. Men under the age of 46 should be able to reach the soles of their feet. Older men should aim to be within three to four inches of their soles.

3. What's your heart rate? Begin by exercising for 18 minutes at 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate : for men, 220 minus your age; for women, 208 minus .82 times your age. Then exercise all out for three minutes. Check your pulse. Rest for two minutes and then check it again. Your heart rate should have dropped by at least 66 beats. The faster it drops the more fit you are.