6 Ways Swimming Benefits Your Health
Swimming is a unique sport you can enjoy at any age, weight or fitness level. Unlike higher-impact exercises, swimming offers a revitalizing workout without putting the same level of stress on your joints. Adopting a regular swimming program can aid you in weight loss, relieve chronic pain and build strength. Here are a few ways swimming benefits your health.
1. Relieves Pressure
Unlike running or biking, swimming doesn't put any stress on your knees or back. Water makes you buoyant, bearing up to 90% of your body weight. Relieving your joints, muscles and bones of all that pressure improves your ease of movement. This makes swimming an ideal activity if you're pregnant, arthritic or recovering from an injury.
Check with your general practitioner before starting any new exercise regimen.
2. Maximises Cardio
Just like any other muscle, your heart needs exercise to remain healthy and strong. Aerobic exercise provides cardiovascular conditioning. A wellconditioned heart pumps more efficiently, improving blood flow.
Swimming requires greater breath control than other aerobic activities. With a growing demand for oxygen, your muscles work harder and more powerfully. Consequently, swimming delivers the same cardiovascular gains as running or biking but in less time.
3. Increases Flexibility
One of the reasons Bikram hot yoga is so popular is because the elevated temperatures promote better flexibility. The same goes for exercising in a heated pool. The warm water relaxes stiff muscles, loosens joints and soothes tight ligaments. As your body opens up, so does your flexibility.
Swimming's wide range of movement also keeps you limber. When you pull yourself through the water, you're lengthening your entire body. You get a deep stretch from your head all the way down to your toes.
Be sure to stretch before and after any type of physical activity. Stretching helps prevents injuries and lactic acid build-up.
4. Provides a Total-Body Workout
One of swimming's greatest health benefits is that it provides a full-body workout. Swimming engages all muscles simultaneously: arms, back, core, glutes and legs. Play around with these different strokes to target specific areas and muscle groups.
Backstroke-back, shoulders, abdominals and hamstrings
Breaststroke-neck, back, quadriceps and calves
Butterfly-neck, chest, back and abdominals
Freestyle/front Crawl-arms, chest, back and glutes
Health professionals recommend swimming for 2.5 hours per week to support weight loss and improve muscle tone.
5. Regulates Body Temperature
Swimming is the ultimate sweat-free activity. How are you going to get hot in a cold pool? Exercise becomes less strenuous when you're not on the verge of overheating. Instead, the cooling water leaves you feeling invigorated and refreshed.
6. Offers Variations
Have you ever fallen into a workout rut? Are you bored of doing the same routine over and over? Or, do you follow a workout plan where some of the exercises are too challenging? In a pool, you have endless options when it comes to working out.
You don't always have to stick with swimming laps. You can vary your routine! Try some shallow-water jogging, forward lunges or pool-wall push-ups. With so many possibilities and variations, you can adapt any exercise to your fitness or ability level. Again, make sure to warm up and cool down with every workout.
As you prepare to take advantage of the health benefits of swimming, follow some basic precautions. Always use caution around water-never swim alone. Wear appropriate swim attire that won't impede your movement.
It's also wise to do a quick inspection of your pool before diving in. Make sure the water is clear of debris and potential drowning hazards. Ensure all pool equipment is operating correctly and water chemicals are properly balanced.
If you notice anything that could pose a danger to you or other bathers, don't go in the water. Call your pool contractor for a professional inspection. A pool specialist can diagnose the issues and provide solutions for restoring the safety and structural integrity of your pool.