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We are told repeatedly in newspapers and magazines that we need to exercise more to look after ourselves and keep our weight down, yet that can be bad advice for people who are overweight. Did you know that according to then for every pound of weight you carry you put 4 pounds of pressure on your knee joints when you walk? That means if you are say 2 stone overweight, 28 pounds, you are putting a massive 112 pounds more pressure on your knees with every step you take, add that up over the course of a mile and the extra pressure your knees are under will be huge. That pressure gets even worse if you run as well where you are slamming your weight down onto each leg.

So what can you do about it?

Well if you want to exercise but you also want to avoid any problems which might arise from putting that much pressure on your knees, then you need to choose an activity that takes the pressure off them. Cycling is one form of exercise that helps, but swimming is even better. With swimming then your whole bodyweight is being supported by the water and your knees don’t have any pressure on them at all!

That is why I think it is the best exercise people can do when they are overweight. It stops any excess pressure on any of your joints, it is a lot more fun than most other types of exercise, and it give you a whole body workout rather than just working your lower body like cycling or jogging would. Front crawl is one of the best swimming styles to burn calories, burning around 600 calories an hour, backstroke burns around 480 calories an hour and breaststroke burns 360. I didn’t mention the butterfly style which burns a colossal 900 calories an hour because I know most people wouldn’t be able to keep that up for very long!

Don’t worry if you aren’t a strong swimmer (or can’t swim at all), it is easy to go and get some lessons to help you out, if you ever fall into some water and need to swim to safety then you’ll be really glad you did! Also don’t expect to get into the water and do lap after lap after lap, you need to build your skills and your stamina up just like with everything else. If you can’t do lengths of the pool then do widths instead, and rather than getting out of the pool and finishing the session once you feel tired then just give yourself lots of rest and in a few minutes you’ll be able to carry on and burn more calories! Even more than is you were using an elliptical machine!

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