Cardiovascular Fitness in the Pool
Although it’s been slow in coming, the heat of summer is finally here in Denver. If you’re listening to your cardiologist, you’re trying to keep up regular exercise. You might have tried to keep comfortable by choosing the right time of day for your run, but it might not be enough. Instead, you’re looking for ways to get in your daily exercise while staying cool in the pool. Is it possible to get your cardiovascular exercise in while swimming?
Yes! Swimming is a great way to keep your heart healthy while keeping cool. But it is definitely a different kind of exercise, especially for those in landlocked Colorado, so it’s important to approach swimming with a bit of caution.
Swimming Is Cardiovascular Exercise
Most people don’t think of getting their cardiovascular exercise by swimming because few swim for long enough to elevate their heart rate. However, studies have shown that swimming might be as good as – or better than – running for cardiovascular health. Many studies show that moderate exercise, in general, is linked to a lower heart attack risk, but few studies have looked at specific exercise.
That is, until a vast 2017 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which looked at more than 80,000 adults with an average age of about 50. The analysis showed that people who swam regularly had a 28% reduction in all-cause mortality (dying of any cause) and a 41% lower risk of dying of heart disease. The same study showed no mortality benefits to running!
Even at its best, studies show a reduction in heat-related mortality of about 45% for running. So swimming is comparable to running for reducing your risk of heart-related mortality.
How to Get Your Cardio in the Pool
So how do you go about getting your cardio in the pool? If you’re not a regular swimmer, it’s best to take it slow. You’re not just exercising your heart; you’re learning to exercise all your other muscles, too. Start by doing just 5-10 minutes of swimming at a time – that’s probably enough to wear you out at first – then keep your heart rate elevated by walking in the pool.
If you’re ready, you can ramp it up by doing intense swimming intermittently. Swim as hard and as fast as you can for one lap (or even one length), then swim more slowly for the same amount. Keep this up as long as you can, taking breaks or even walking in the water, to try to get in your 25 minutes a day of moderate exercise.
Once you start to get comfortable in the pool, you can start varying your swimming exercises. If you usually swim one way, learn a different technique. If you know other techniques, keep alternating until you feel equally comfortable using all methods. Then maybe add a new style!
Monitor Your Heart Health at South Denver Cardiology
Not sure you’re doing enough to maintain good heart health? Let South Denver Cardiology Associates take a look. We offer a full range of diagnostic testing that can help you figure out whether you’re doing enough for your heart health. Then a heart doctor can counsel you and recommend preventive heart care to achieve good heart health with a combination of a healthy diet and exercise – including exercise you can do while keeping cool at the pool.
Please schedule an appointment with a cardiologist today at South Denver Cardiology Associates. We serve patients throughout the Denver metro area.
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As with any health concerns, your specific treatment program should be discussed thoroughly with your primary care physician as well as any specialists who may need to be consulted – like a cardiologist.Sign Up