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Exercising in the water

Q.: I have been a member of a gym for some time and they have a nice indoor pool facility that I've never used because I'm not sure what I should do in there and for how long!  I normally work out on a treadmill for 40 – 45 minutes and would like to do a pool workout that burns about the same amount of calories. Any suggestions?

A.: Just so you have a reference: 150 pound person depending on how fit they are) may burn about 300 calories in a half hour on a treadmill walking. A lighter person would burn less. You do not say how fast you are walking or running which would impact how many calories you burn too.

In the pool this same person who weighs 150 burns may burn about 200 calories in 30 minutes. At your fitness level you would have to choose harder strokes, use a kickboard, then become faster as you swim so you could get closer to the same calorie benefit.

HOWEVER, this is not the only reason to decide if you should swim or use the pool for exercise. The cross training benefits are tremendous. By swimming you increase your lung capacity, work other muscles (upper body ad abs) and the low impact allows your body to recover from the impact of the treadmill.

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