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Dive in head first. Going for a swim is a great way to tone your body and improve your general fitness, without placing too much strain on your joints. An enjoyable way to work out, swimming will help you to burn fat and get the streamlined body you’ve been dreaming of. Sounds like it’s time to start making a splash...

How does it work?

Swimming is a great form of exercise for those who don’t want to invest in lots of expensive equipment. Forget fancy gadgets - all you need in order to start doing some lengths in a public pool is a swimming costume, some goggles and a good dose of motivation.

Of course, it also helps to know the strokes when you take to the water. Different strokes burn different amounts of energy and work different muscle groups. Breaststroke is a fantastic form of aerobic exercise and can help you to lose weight – burning as much as 700 calories an hour. Butterfly is a brilliant way to tone your shoulders and arms, and backstroke will work wonders for your legs. Whatever stroke floats your boat, you’ll find that swimming regularly will reduce your blood pressure, increase your flexibility, help you to destress and improve your stamina. What’s not to love?

Is it for me?

A session of swimming can burn off as much fat as a jog or power walk – and it also has the advantage that it is low-impact, making it kinder on bones and joints. As it places so little strain on the body, going for a swim is a great way to start exercising again after an injury, as well as for pregnant and obese people to keep fit.

Good to know

Swimming has been a part of the modern Olympic Games since they first began back in 1896.

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You don't have to be a Lycra-lover to trim up with aerobics. In the simplest terms, aerobic exercise is any exercise you do where your muscles use oxygen. For example, running is aerobic.

Zen Swimming

Dive right in and enjoy a new form of aquatic exercise that won’t leave you floundering. Zen Swimming combines the ‘Shaw Method’ and the principles of ‘Hellerwork’ with all the exercise benefits of traditional swimming. Whereas ordinary lap-swimming can lead to a flood of problems including a stiff neck, shoulders, back ache or even headaches, the Zen method relieves tension by focussing on technique and positioning or ‘conscious’ swimming.