It became a buzzword in office politics and employee development in the 1990s—cross-training. Everyone needed to grow their own skill set by learning the jobs around them. Folks would be more versatile, more engaged, and, in turn, better at their own jobs. Well, this dynamic is just as effective for athletes. And while plenty of runners take up cycling and vise versa, it often seems that swimming gets overlooked in this exercise shuffle. To you triathletes, we know—you do it all and that’s one reason we love you. For the rest of us runners and cyclists, let’s take a second look at swimming and what it can do for us.
- A different breathing pattern—When we run, we tend to take shallow breaths, pulling air in and forcing it out. When you swim, you take a deep breath in quickly and let it ease out as you go. This can strengthen your respiratory muscles and gives your body a different experience during similarly strenuous exercise.
- No (well, little) gravity—When you are out pounding the pavement, you are literally pounding the pavement. This can put some serious strain on your knees, back, hips—you know, all those parts that hurt! Exercise in the pool takes all that added weight off your joints. There is no pounding, no “gravity” pushing you down. You get the respiratory and resistance benefits without all the bone banging.
- Enjoy it on land? Take it in the water—Virtually every land-based work out can be taken into the pool. There are water weights, resistance barbells, and even flotation belts that allow you run in deep water. You get the added benefit of not only shirking gravity, but getting some evenly applied resistance as you go.
- Here’s lookin’ at you, cyclists—Not only does swimming work your core and sometimes neglected upper body, but it is great workout for your hip flexors. Many cyclists have hit the pool after a hip flexor injury, but keep at it! Swimming can help strengthen lengthen those muscles that take a beating on the bike.
- Endurance—Isn’t that the name of the game? Swimming teaches you regulate your breathing (I mean, breathing in at the wrong moment has pretty obvious consequences). The decreased strain on joints from running or other impact sports means you can go not until your needs or feet can’t take it, but until you’re just out of breath or your muscles are exhausted. You push your body in a completely different way, making it stronger for our game out of the pool.
Let’s stop thinking of the pool as a place for rehab or something we’ll take up in the winter when that steamy, heated pool looks too good to resist. Make swimming a regular part of your training routine. It’s all about pushing yourself to that next level and swimming can help you get there.
Whether your wearing out sneakers, burning through another set of tires, or swimming laps around your land-going friends, make sure cramps aren’t setting you back. You know what’s better than treating a cramp? Preventing it from ever starting. HOTSHOT is the only product scientifically proven to just that—prevent the cramp before it starts. Pick up yours today. Where? Oh, right here. Then be sure to stop by and see us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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