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Swimming for Runners Cross Training

Some runners find swimming to be an excellent activity for cross training. Swimming is a low impact aerobic activity which can be a welcomed reprieve from the repetitive pounding often associated with running. Whether the runner opts to cross train by swimming or running in a pool, he is likely to gain a host of worthwhile benefits by giving his body this opportunity to rest and rejuvenate his muscles. This article will outline some of the benefits of using swimming as a cross training activity and will also provide a few suggestions for how to cross train effectively in the pool.

First consider how using swimming as a cross training activity can be beneficial for runners. Running is obviously a very difficult exercise for the body to handle. It is not only very taxing on the muscles but it is also a high impact activity which means the joints are subject to pounding on a regular basis. Running every day is not good for the runner because his body needs at least one day of rest a week and ideally most runners require as much as 2-3 days of rest each week. Using swimming as a cross training activity allows the runner to have a break from running without taking a day completely off from exercise. However, the body will be utilizing different muscles and the joints will not be subjected to high impact pounding. As a result swimming is a very effective form of both cross training and rest for runners.

There are a couple of different methods runners can use for cross training in a pool. The most obvious way is by swimming. The majority of the common swimming strokes require a great deal of effort by the upper body but only minimal effort by the lower body. This is quite different from running in which the focus of the effort is on the legs. Therefore while swimming, the runnerís legs get a much needed break while the upper body is challenged more than usual. In this way, while swimming the legs have a great opportunity to adequately recover from earlier running workouts.

Another method for cross training in the pool is to run in the water. There are belts which are specifically designed for this purpose. These belts keep the runner in a vertical position in the water and offer some buoyancy to enable the runner to perform a running motion while in the pool. The belts do not provide enough buoyancy to keep the runner above water though so he will have to engage in a running motion to remain above water. Many runners resort to this type of cross training while they are suffering from injuries such as shin splints or stress fractures. These injuries can be worsened by the repetitive pounding of running. However, runners who do their cross training in the pool are able to maintain their cardiovascular health and engage their muscles in a manner which is very similar to the way the muscles are used while running but all of this is accomplished in a no impact environment which eliminates the typical pounding on the joints often associated with running.


The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.

Running Stretches and Running Tips

Click Here to view the DVD.

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