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The benefits of swimming extend past the fun and fitness

Swimming exercise or aquacise can protect you from heart disease too

Swimming provides the cardio benefits of running and the resistance of weight training.

OK, so I have to confess... I only like hot water (hot tubs, warm showers) with one exception... and that's when I'm in the tropics. As I write this I'm in Mexico for a month, and I've been in the ocean and/or the pool every day!

Whether you do laps or participate in aerobics in the shallow end, water-based exercise is ideal for heart health... in fact, it’s an ideal activity for almost anyone and for all ages. Join a class, meet some friends, or take the family!

If you want to monitor your heart rate, you can even get waterproof heart rate monitors!

Apparently resting heart rate decreases 10 beats per minute in water, and maximum heart rate decreases by 10 to 30 beats. Experts don't know why heart rate decreases in water, but the reason may be the lower temperature and reduced gravity in water. In any case, you should know your target exercise heart rate, and lower that by at least 10 beats when in the water.

Exercising in water is perfect for people who have a hard time carrying out weight-bearing land-based physical activities, because your weight in water is about 1/10 of your normal weight on land.

Another great benefit is that it minimizes the risk of injuries. And, as physical therapy, it gently rehabilitates and relaxes muscles and joints.

Here's some good news for people trying to lose weight: if you swim for 30 minutes it is possible to burn 260 calories. And done on a regular basis, even of moderate intensity, it can help reduce high blood pressure in some people.

You can derive the same benefits from aquacise. It benefits your heart and lungs, has low impact on joints, increases strength, and it's refreshing and invigorating.

Check out your local pool or fitness center for times and/or classes.

What do you do for your heart health and fitness? Share your tips!

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