Swimming is a vital skill for health. It is a great form exercise for all. It tones up your body and helps you stay trim. This is because to swim you need to move your body against the resistance of the water, which is ten times more that of air. Research studies suggest that you use up 25 per cent more calories in water than you would if you were swimming through air. Therefore you end up burning more fat than normal.
Swimming a few laps involves most of your muscles. Also, at a fast pace you can build up a good aerobic workout. Another advantage of swimming is that water supports your weight and hence takes the stress of the joints. It serves as a good workout for your knees, hips or spine. Studies have shown that exercising in waist-deep water reduces the pressure on joints by 50 per cent while exercising in chest-deep water as swimming reduces it by as much as 75 per cent.
Unfortunately, swimming is not a protection against osteoporosis, the brittle bone disease, as it is not a weight-bearing exercise. Swimming is a wonderful exercise during pregnancy. The weight-supporting effect of water is especially good in the late stages.
- Learn to swim properly
- Do not swim in dirty waters
- Vary your strokes to work out different muscles
- Introduce swimming to children at an early age
- Overuse of shoulder joint can cause inflammation and pain in tendons
Swimming, say experts, is the best exercise for you because every muscle of the body is used. However, a few health problems can crop up due to swimming. Swimmers generally get shoulder joint injuries, which can cause inflammation and pain due to the overuse of shoulders. Swimming can also cause infection of the ear, giving rise to pain. Also, swimming pool hygiene at times is low and therefore skin infections are common. Also, verrucas or warts that appear on the sole of the foot are caught from public changing rooms.
The concept of dancing has been revolutionized with so many dance forms that it can even make a couch potato get up and swing legs. ‘Exercise’ can be boring for some but show them how to dance and they will be up on their feet. Several dance studios and dancing schools have come up in recent times.
Dance is a form of aerobic exercise and is good if you enjoy performing; be it classical, folk, bhangra, dandiya, disco, salsa, cha-cha, jive, hip hop, ballroom, ballet, line or square dancing. Folk dances are an integral part of our Indian culture. Festivals, occasions, holidays, and religious celebrations—all include dance forms. Dance has a universal appeal. It provides recreation, self-expression and of course exercise. It can help you come to terms with your physical as well as mental self. The gaiety of dance can help uplift your emotions.
Salsa is a great workout for the legs; while beely dancing develops core strength; jiving works up a sweat while cha-cha is good for a warm-up phase. Bollywood dancing is the in thing; it is fun too and you become the centre of attraction at parties. The fast high-energy dancing helps burn a lot of calories. It begins with a warm-up of about 5-10 minutes followed by 20-30 minutes of intense dancing followed by a cool down moving in slow beats.
Today, we have ‘dancercise’, a combination of exercise and dancing to lose those extra kilos. This mainly comprises increased agility and co-ordination through aerobics dance exercise. Dancing for a long time requires muscular endurance and motor fitness. The aerobic form of exercise improves the condition of heart and lungs. Dance is something, which is practiced again and again.
If you think you have poor co-ordination and you cannot dance, you are wrong. Anyone can dance if not always elegantly. Our Indian classical dance forms—Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Odissi, etc. requires dedicated devotion. The purpose here is to enjoy moving to the tal, beats and music. Dancing is suitable for all ages, shapes and sizes. Start off gently and build up the right level of activity.