Swimming for Runners Cross Training
Some runners find swimming to be an excellent activity for
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.