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Throw some shapes in the water and get fit on holiday

DON’T JUST PLUNGE into the pool or the sea to cool off – use the opportunity to give yourself a fun workout and to get fit in the water. Getting active in water provides extra resistance and will work wonders for your fitness levels. Even better news, the buoyancy takes the strain off your body…

Why it works

Working out in water is good for everyone…
• It boosts cardiovascular fitness and endurance
• It uses all the major muscle groups
• It rebalances your nervous system
• The buoyancy of the water supports your weight, which avoids excess strain on joints
• If you’re pregnant or overweight, it’s a safer and more comfortable way to exercise
• Water provides more resistance than air, so it’s a brilliant way to get your heart rate up, burn more calories and tone up your entire body

How to get more out of it

VARY YOUR STROKES It’s tempting to stick to the same stroke, but mix them up and you’ll maximise the number of muscles you tone and add intensity to your workout. To get the most out of your swim, try to vary both your strokes and speed.

SPEED UP Instead of just swimming up and down, counting lengths, add sprints: four to 10 swim sprints of 10–20 seconds, with 40–60 seconds of rest between each one, will increase your strength and power and boost your fitness levels. Shorter, more focused swimming sessions at least once or twice a week will make it easier to work on speed and technique and keep your motivation high.

Which stroke is best?

BREASTSTROKE The breaststroke targets your back and biceps as you draw back and your chest and triceps as you stretch forwards. You’ll work your shoulders, abs and legs throughout but make sure to keep movements symmetrical. Learn to control your breathing between strokes and you will get a more of an aerobic workout.

FRONT CRAWL One of the toughest strokes until you master it properly, the front crawl works a lot of muscles at once. It’s great for your tummy and bottom as the abs and glutes are pushed hard to keep you horizontal and moving in a straight, streamlined way. You’ll also tone your waist as you twist to breathe.

BACKSTROKE For a full-body stretch, nothing beats the backstroke. It’s really works your upper body, in particular your shoulders, arms, chest and back. It’s great for toning legs and bottom, elongating your hip flexors and is fantastic for burning calories.

Keen to perfect your technique? Get tips on different swimming strokes here.