Swimming Exercises for Obese People

A pool provides the perfect exercise arena for people with overweight.
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People with obesity often find it difficult to find physical activities in which to engage. Their heaviness makes movement difficult, and they are more likely to experience injury due to their weight than their thinner counterparts. One arena which does provide people with obesity a place to work out successfully is water. Swimming exercises are often ideal for heavy individuals seeking to lose weight and become healthier.

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Types

Swimming exercises are not limited to freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. In fact, the classic strokes may be too strenuous for people with overweight to accomplish when they first begin to work out. Individuals with obesity are more likely to benefit from low-impact aerobic exercises in the pool. The Women Fitness website recommends shallow-water activities including simple walking or slow jogging in the pool, jumping jacks, side shuffling across the pool and jumps. The Love to Know website suggests that people with overweight work out in the deep water to shield their joints. People with obesity can dog paddle, practice dolphin or frog kicks while holding a kick-board in front of them and tread water.

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Benefits

The benefits of water exercises for people with overweight are extensive. Perhaps most importantly, these exercises are safer for heavy persons to do than typical land exercises. The water cushions the joints and is good for the participants' blood circulation. The swimming exercises can provide a whole-body workout while burning fat and calories. People with obesity also benefit from staying cooled off in the pool so they are able to work out longer than they could in other environments.

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Considerations

People with obesity need to be aware that swimming does increase the functioning of the heart and lungs, but they should not exercise to the point of strain of these organs. Beginners need to take it very slowly. Fifteen minutes is plenty for people with overweight to just starting to exercise. Also, individuals with obesity will not experience the weight loss and health benefits they desire unless they couple their new water exercise program with healthy eating in appropriate portions.

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Disadvantages

The primary disadvantage to swimming exercises is that they cannot be performed at home -- unless you have a large pool in your backyard and it is the right season. They must, therefore, find a gym or Y with a pool, and membership can be expensive. Another drawback is that the workout must be performed in swimwear, and many people with overweight are shy about wearing such apparel in public. Also, the Facts About Fitness website notes that working out in the cold water leads to increased appetite which can sabotage weight-loss efforts.

Warnings

Anyone beginning an exercise program should consult with a physician first. This is especially true for people with obesity as they typically have more health concerns than people who are not living with overweight. Once in the water, a person with obesity should be conscious of not overdoing his workout. It is particularly easy to overextend yourself as the water gives you the illusion of being lighter and, therefore, not working out as hard as if you were on land. Monitor your heart rate so that it does not exceed your maximum beats per minute which can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220. Do not work out in the pool when you are running a fever or feel ill.

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