Swimming is often seen as a fun and relaxing activity and while this is true, it also provides several health benefits. Regular swimming can provide an adequate cardiovascular workout, as well as strengthen and tone the muscles. This is something most people can do because it is low-impact and requires less exertion than other workouts, such as running and cycling.
Low-Impact on the Bones
This is something that is especially important to those with medical conditions like arthritis. The body is automatically lighter when it is in water. This means that taking steps across a pool does not stress the feet, knees and hips like walking on concrete does. Swimming itself bears little to no impact on the joints and can actually help with joint pain and stiffness.
Toning and Strengthening the Muscles
Compared to other aerobic workouts, swimming is the only one that provides significant muscle strengthening and toning. This has a lot to do with the resistance that the water provides. When someone is biking or running, they are going against air while swimmers are going against the weight of the water. As an added benefit, this workout can also strengthen the bones.
A well-rounded workout routine provides cardiovascular training, strength training and flexibility training. Swimming is the one exercise that provides all three of these. Swimming requires a vast range of motion and this helps to loosen and stretch the muscles. To add even more flexibility, swimmers can stretch after exiting the pool.
Improved Heart Health
This is where the cardiovascular benefits come in. This is a type of aerobic exercise, so it helps to strengthen the heart. This means that the heart will earn more efficient pumping in addition to more size. This results in the blood flow throughout the body being improved and most efficient. Just 30 minutes of swimming each day can improve overall body health.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
There is no denying that to maintain a healthy weight, we have to move and move regularly. Since swimming is often seen as a more recreational activity, it is often easier to work in than workouts like running and weight lifting. As you swim laps, you are burning calories. In fact, swimming is now seen as the workout that is capable of burning the most calories. The type of stroke a person chooses makes a difference too. For example 10 minutes of swimming the butterfly burns about 150 calories on average while 10 minutes of swimming the breast stroke will burn 60 calories on average.
Chronic Disease Prevention
High cholesterol and diabetes are two conditions that are becoming nearly epidemic. Swimming can help to fend off these health issues. The aerobic power of swimming can help to get cholesterol levels in balance. This exercise also helps to keep the lining of the arteries healthy and flexible.
Exercise is the most powerful medicine for diabetes. For example, swimming just 30 minutes a day, three times a week has the potential to lower your risk of diabetes by more than 10 percent. This is a very significant difference. Those that already have diabetes can benefit too. This exercise can increase insulin sensitivity, helping to improve blood sugar levels. It is estimated that those with diabetes should strive to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. This should be spread out over three days minimum.
Swimming is a type of aerobic exercise and this means that performing it results in a release of endorphins. This helps to lower stress, as well as improve overall mood. It is often said that if you are feeling down, swim a few laps and your mood will improve. This is not just due to endorphins, but also because of the muscle movement and deep rhythmic breathing.
About the author: Ken Campbell knows a lot about fitness because he’s been covering the industry for many years. When he’s not writing, you can find him reviewing exercise slide baords or building his own home gym.