Swimming is a fun way to exercise if people find hitting the gym or other forms of exercise difficult or boring. It is also a great way to workout for indoors or outdoors. Swimming does not require any equipment and a person can swim in any safe water body, including natural water bodies or temperature-controlled indoor or outdoor swimming pools. Swimming has often been called the perfect exercise because it has several health benefits, including increased longevity. Research has shown that swimmers had a 50% lower death rate compared to runners, walkers, and those who were not active. It is a great form of aerobic exercise/cardio without much impact on the joints, hence reducing the risk of joint damage and preventing worsening of damaged joints in conditions like arthritis. Swimming is an effective exercise for any age group.
What Are the 12 Important Benefits of Swimming?
Some 12 important benefits of swimming include:
- Weight loss
- Swimming is a great way to burn calories and lose weight. Depending on the type of swimming style and intensity, swimming can even burn more calories than running and several other cardio exercises. It’s possible to burn 100 calories with freestyle swimming or 150 calories with butterfly stroke in 10 minutes. A 10-minute run burns around 100 calories. Therefore, a 30-minute intense swimming session can burn around the same or more calories than a 5k run.
- Increased strength and muscle definition
- Swimmers improve joint strength, muscle strength, and muscle definition throughout the entire body, making the body appear toned and well defined. Among all exercises, swimming causes the least strain on the muscles and joints.
- Increased flexibility
- Swimming involves a lot of twisting, stretching, and joint movement to move through the water, against resistance. This eventually increases flexibility. Many obese people cannot exercise because of joint pain and arthritis problems. For these people, swimming is an excellent option.
- Improvement of exercise-induced asthma
- Breathing dry gym air or pollen allergy can trigger an asthma attack in those with exercise-induced asthma. Breathing moist air while swimming decreases this risk. Swimming can help treat asthma symptoms by improving lung capacity and the overall condition of the lungs.
- Reduction of stress and depression
- Swimming releases endorphins and the feeling of relaxation is similar to yoga. Being in the water, especially in an outdoor pool or natural water body, can be calming, distressing, and can reduce depression.
- Swimming in the ocean can be beneficial to the skin
- Swimming in the ocean instead of a pool can benefit the skin due to the salt in seawater. Salt can help the skin retain moisture, detox, and promote cell growth. This can result in healthier skin and better skin texture. However, swimming in the ocean requires one to be a really strong swimmer because unlike a pool, the currents in the ocean are strong and there is a high risk of accidents like an accidental drowning.
- Improved social wellbeing
- Swimming is a social sport, and it can help one make new friends while exercising or training. One can gather friends and family to swim together, relax by the pool, and have a good time. Swimmers of all ages can take classes together, train together, or work with a coach in the pool. Even if you have a pool at home, it is where you gather with your friends and family. A study revealed that exercising and socializing together leads to improved mental health. Participants in the study had lower levels of anxiety and depression than their peers did.
- Increased focus and goal orientation
- Swimming helps improve concentration and teaches goal orientation, especially with skilled swimmers.
- An alternative exercise when injured
- When athletes are injured, particularly in the lower extremities, they are frequently told to swim to maintain their fitness level. It is recommended as part of the rehabilitation. That's because the resistance of the water makes the muscles work hard without the strain or impact that is experienced on land.
- Low impact
- There's no ground impact when you swim, and so you protect the joints from stress and strain. Water aerobics classes are also desirable for this reason. After all, even if you do jump and hit the bottom of the pool, you do so with less force because you're buoyant in the water. Not only that but if you wear or hold a flotation device during a water aerobics class, the impact is even less.
- Builds cardiorespiratory fitness
- In one study of sedentary middle-aged men and women who did swim training for 12 weeks, maximal oxygen consumption improved 10% and stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped with each beat which indicates heart strength) improved as much as 18%. It improves endurance.
- Lifetime exercise
- Because there's no impact on swimming, it can be continued for a lifetime.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Robinson KM. Swimming. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/a-z/swimming-for-fitness
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