Diving into the cool, refreshing water of a swimming pool on a hot day is a child’s summertime dream! But did you know that swimming is the perfect workout solution for people of all ages? Don’t like running on a treadmill or working up a sweat on a stationary bicycle? Try swimming laps at your gym or local YMCA (or in your own pool, if you’re lucky enough to have one!) The water will keep you cool, even though your heart rate will get a good workout. You may even be able to exercise for a longer duration of time as compared to jogging. Here are some of the other ways in which swimming can benefit you and your health:
It’s the Perfect Low Impact Workout
Swimming is the perfect solution for older people or pregnant women who wish to stay active, as it is also a low impact workout that minimizes stress on the joints. Low impact workouts are also great for people with arthritis and chronic pain because there is no ground impact. As a result, the joints are protected from stress that can cause damage and injury over time. Water aerobics classes and swimming laps provide a good cardio workout, and water provides resistance to help with muscle strengthening and toning, yet the buoyancy created by the water protects your joints from impact. In fact, because there is so little impact, swimming is an exercise that can be continued for life!
Even though people most concerned with joint stress may benefit most of swimming, low impact exercise is a healthy, sustainable choice for people of all ages. The stress on the body created by high impact workouts can even affect the best athletes over time.
It Improves Endurance and Muscle Mass
Don’t be fooled – swimming is low impact on your joints, but it has a high impact on your health! It improves endurance, and strengthens muscles. A study of sedentary middle-aged patients found that after 12 weeks of a swimming program, oxygen consumption numbers improved by 10 percent and stroke volume, which indicates heart strength, improved by up to 18 percent. Swimming is great for your lungs because your body must adapt when your face is under water; your body uses oxygen more efficiently and expels more carbon dioxide with each exhale. Swimming has been associated with lower resting heart rates and lower blood pressure.
Water Relieves Stress
It’s well known that exercising causes the release of stress-relieving endorphins in your body – but exercising in water could provide even more benefits! Being immersed in water may help to prevent sensory overload that that contribute to stress levels and foster feelings of calmness. Exposing yourself to rigorous and exercise and cool water at the same time can be a double threat to combating the stress of daily life. Reducing stress results in numerous other health benefits for the brain, heart, and digestive system.
Want more stress relief? After your swim, enjoy a sauna for more health benefits.
Rehabilitation Therapy for Injuries
Many athletes with injuries, particular ankle, knee, or foot injuries, are advised to swim to maintain fitness levels and stay in shape. Again, the resistance of the water combined with the body’s buoyancy makes the muscles work hard, but without causing impact and straining the injured area. Swimming can be a great choice for rebuilding strength of injured muscles.
Swimming burns loads of calories – depending on your method and style of swimming, as well as your body type. It is thought that swimming burns approximately 89% of the calories burned while jogging or running and 97% of the calories burned while riding a bicycle for the same duration of time. Considering the low impact nature of swimming, it can be a very efficient way to burn calories and contribute to healthy weight loss.
Fetters, K. Aleisha. “Benefits of Swimming: 10 Reasons Every Woman Should Get in the Water.” Fitness Magazine. Fitness Magazine, n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.
Robinson, Kara Mayer. “Swimming for Fitness: What to Know.” WebMD. WebMD, 24 July 2014. Web. 03 Jan. 2016.
Weil, Richard, MEd, CDE. “Swimming: Health and Disease Prevention – What Are the Benefits of Swimming? – MedicineNet.” MedicineNet. MedicineNet, 20 May 2015. Web. 03 Jan. 2016.