With summer around the corner, pool parties and trips to the ocean will be top of mind. Many people consider swimming to be a fun summer activity, but there is much more to the sport than this.
Not only is swimming a fantastic recreational and social activity, but it is also a great form of exercise for people of all ages to do, no matter the time of year. If you haven’t considered adding swimming to your exercise routine, here are some reasons you should.
Why swimming is so good for you
Swimming is one of the most underrated exercises. The sport can offer a host of health benefits and is one of the preferred methods of exercise for elderly people and people with chronic pain. This is because swimming offers intense cardiovascular exercise without the severe impact on the body that other cardio exercises, like running, can have.
Swimming is both a gentle and vigorous exercise, but it is also peaceful. Many people enjoy swimming when they are feeling stressed because the feeling of the water combined with physical activity helps them relax and boost their mood.
No matter whether you are a beginner or an expert, swimming is an excellent exercise. Because you’re using your body weight, swim duration and effort as the main drivers for your workout, you can tailor the intensity of your swim to your needs and skill level.
And, swimming is largely accessible and safe. Most gyms, schools or neighborhoods offer pools, and swimming doesn’t require the use of lots of sports equipment or gear. All you need is a swimsuit and a simple pair of goggles.
Health benefits of swimming
Swimming isn’t just fun—it’s also good for you! A lot of people don’t realize just how many health and fitness benefits this water sport can offer.
- Cardiovascular fitness: Swimming is one of the top forms of aerobic exercise and helps elevate and maintain your heart rate for extended periods of time. Routine swimming can help protect you from cardiovascular disease, strokes and type 2 diabetes.
- Builds endurance: Because of the way swimming forces you to breathe, with quick, deep inhales and slow releases, experts believe that swimming can help improve lung capacity and make you a better breather in general. This also helps you build endurance, so you can stay active for longer.
- Muscle and strength training: Almost all of your muscles are used during swimming, so you’ll be getting a total-body workout and using muscles you may not normally target. Your body will also work harder in the water than on land because water is denser than air, putting more external pressure on your body and helping you tone and strengthen muscles faster.
- Maintain healthy weight: Swimming is one of the most effective ways to burn calories, so if you’re trying to exercise in order to lose weight, swimming may help you do so faster.
- Increase flexibility: Range of motion is important in swimming due to the nature of popular strokes like butterfly and breaststroke. By doing these exercises, you’ll stretch all parts of your body and improve your flexibility.
- Support your body: Swimming is ideal for people who suffer from chronic pain, arthritis and other ailments that make exercise painful. Since the water helps to support your body weight, movement can be easier and more comfortable. It’s also a good form of exercise for people recovering from an injury or those who are trying to prevent wear and tear on their joints.
- Improve posture: Working out in a horizontal posture and utilizing more of your back muscles to maintain form while swimming may be able to counteract the effects of sedentary living and working with poor posture.
How to incorporate swimming into your fitness regimen
If you’re interested in swimming, you shouldn’t just find the nearest pool and hop in. Make sure you know how to swim and feel confident swimming on your own. This is even more important if you choose to swim in natural bodies of water like lakes or the ocean.
Aim to go swimming a few times a week for 30 minutes. Swimming every day might make you feel fatigued, so give your body time to rest between workouts.
When you get to the pool, always warm up beforehand. Even though water is gentler on the body, your muscles still need time to stretch and get ready for physical exertion.
In the water, make sure you’re using the proper techniques for each stroke you do. You can still put yourself at a risk for injury by moving in awkward or unnatural ways.
Finally, if you’re new to swimming, don’t be surprised if the workout seems extra tough at first. You may not be used to using certain muscles, breathing in a different way or having added pressure on your body from the water. Go at a pace that is comfortable, taking breaks when necessary, until you can build up your strength and endurance.
Over time, swimming can have impressive results on your body, inside and out. Don’t delay in trying out this super-effective exercise this summer!