It’s that time of the year when we begin to enjoy the warm weather, outdoor activities and water fun! But have you considered the health benefits of year-round swimming? Indoor pools are available in most communities. Local YMCAs, fitness centers and some high schools or colleges offer community memberships or have hours dedicated to “open swims.” With a little research, you could be on your way to a lifetime activity that reaps many physical benefits.
Swimming and other water activities offer physical and psychological benefits that include lowering blood pressure, stress reduction and improving posture and flexibility, with a low risk of injury. Movement in water is low impact and works the whole body for an excellent workout and improved conditioning. Generally, age or physical condition are not a detriment to swimming or participating in water activity; most people can safely enjoy these low impact activities.
If you are interested in exercise with more socialization, you can research group classes, water aerobics or team sports (such as water polo or synchronized swimming) offered at community facilities. Group classes  are available at Good Shepherd’s warm water therapy pool in Allentown. Invite a friend to attend a class with you or enjoy the solitude and relaxation of swimming laps.
You can vary your regular workout routine by swimming as a warm up, warm down or training for an upcoming event. Even if you are not an experienced swimmer or don’t know various strokes, you can still get the benefits of exercising in the water – grab a noodle, kickboard or fins. The resistance created by the water will challenge your muscles. Water walking or treading water will increase your heart rate and use most muscles in your body.
Indoor pools offer year- round availability, but with warm weather soon upon us, outdoor pools can offer a seasonal change of atmosphere. So pull out the trunks, swimsuits and goggles and get started!
Note: If you have not been exercising regularly, speak with your doctor to assure you are cleared to begin a fitness routine in the water.