Every type of exercise offers its own unique set of benefits, but most are better suited for people with certain interests. Swimming, on the other hand, is considered by many health experts to be a nearly perfect fitness exercise, for a good reason. It’s appropriate for people of all ages and fitness levels. It’s also a good option even for people with injuries or chronic health issues. It’s an incredibly affordable sport to take up as well.
In other words, swimming is a good fit for nearly everyone. However, the benefits of swimming go far beyond the obvious reasons. Here, we’ll take a closer look at just a few of the many reasons why swimming deserves to be part of everyone’s summer exercise regimen. Which of the following is your favorite reason to hit the pool and dive in?
SWIMMING IS ABOUT AS LOW-IMPACT AS IT GETS.
When you think of increasing your cardiovascular fitness, running usually comes to mind, and it’s not hard to see why. Running is a fantastic choice for burning calories, building endurance, and improving your health overall. It’s also a high-impact exercise that can cause or exacerbate issues like joint inflammation and muscle strain, making it unfavorable for many people.
Swimming, on the other hand, is pretty much the perfect low-impact exercise. It gives you the same great full body workout that running does. However, it’s a lot easier on the joints, making it appropriate even for people with health issues like arthritis or bursitis. For that reason, swimming is literally something you can do well into your senior years, even if you’re struggling with joint problems or mobility issues.
BUILD SOME SERIOUS MUSCLE IN THE POOL THIS SUMMER.
Most people who want to build lots of lean muscle mass immediately think about weight lifting. Building muscle evenly over the entire body can present something of a challenge when you’re completely reliant on the weight room, though. You need to make sure that you are engaging all the muscle groups so that you look and feel balanced in the strength department.
Swimming, on the other hand, activates numerous muscle groups all at the same time, meaning you become leaner and stronger all over without having to give your routine much thought. Your legs kick while your arms pull, your shoulders rotate, and your core muscles tighten to support the body. Swimming even engages underworked muscles like the deltoids, traps, and lats. Naturally, it takes a lot of swimming over an extended period of time to get one of those coveted swimmer’s bodies you see on Olympic champions, but you’ll start feeling stronger almost immediately.
SWIMMING IS A GREAT WAY TO SHRED BODY FAT.
There’s a reason why dedicated swimmers rarely retain extra body fat. Swimming burns an incredible number of calories. Depending on how much gusto you’re putting into it, a 130-pound person can burn between 413 and 590 calories swimming freestyle for one hour. Someone who weighs 155 pounds can burn between 493 and 704 calories. That’s an incredible amount of calorie expenditure compared to other popular exercises.
This makes swimming a terrific fit for people who want to lose weight, keep from gaining weight, and lower their overall amount of body fat. The harder you work, the higher your heart rate goes, and the more calories you burn overall. Because of the weight-bearing properties of the water, swimming is even a good fit for people who are too overweight or chronically ill to comfortably take up any other form of physical activity.
IMPROVE THE STRENGTH AND DENSITY OF YOUR BONES.
Once upon a time, it was thought that only weight-bearing exercises like lifting, running, and other traditional sports could help you build bone mass. These days, researchers know better.
Human research on the relationship between swimming and bone density is still ongoing, of course, but there’s every reason in the world to think of those laps around the pool are excellent therapy for your bones. The stronger your bones, the less likely they are to break or lose mass, especially as you grow older.
SWIMMING REALLY IS EXCELLENT FOR YOUR CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS.
The better your body can circulate blood and deliver oxygen to cells, the healthier you’re ultimately going to be. People with healthy cardiovascular systems are less likely to have heart attacks or develop heart disease as well. For that reason, everyone should be interested in improving their cardiovascular health, and swimming is an excellent way to do it.
As touched on above, swimming activates multiple muscle groups, as well as gets your heart pumping and your lungs working hard. This, in turn, gets your blood flowing, encouraging your capillaries to widen and carry additional oxygen to muscle tissue all over your body. They also whisk away waste products like lactic acid and carbon dioxide from your system. In other words, every part of your cardiovascular system reaps the benefits of the workout.
INCREASE YOUR FLEXIBILITY AND RANGE OF MOTION.
When you take a moment to simply consider all the different ways swimming requires your body to move, it’s not hard to see how it could make you a lot more limber, especially over time. Swimmers twist, pull, push, and reach their way through the water. Every muscle is asked to work and stretch as the person engages in the activity. This is the case even for muscles that rarely get used over the course of their everyday life.
With increased flexibility comes many other benefits. You’ll enjoy a much wider range of motion, and you’ll experience less joint-related pain, decreasing the chances of injuring yourself as well.
SWIMMING CAN HELP YOU OVERCOME EXERCISE-INDUCED ASTHMA.
If you suffer from exercise-induced asthma, then you know how frustrating it can be to struggle to catch your breath when you work out. If you already have trouble breathing, the dry air in the gym isn’t going to do you any favors. The same goes for exercising outdoors and braving the high pollen counts associated with warmer spring and summer weather.
When you’re swimming, you’re breathing soothing moist air. Not only does this help alleviate the symptoms and discomfort of exercise-induced asthma, but it can help improve the condition of the lungs overall. Swimming also helps you improve your breathing technique and increase lung volume. In other words, swimming isn’t just a form of exercise people with breathing problems can handle. It can help combat those issues as well.
COMBAT DEPRESSION AND BASK IN FEEL-GOOD ENDORPHINS.
The benefits of regular exercise for people suffering from depression is well-documented. However, swimming does a lot more than just deliver that excellent endorphin release that causes feelings of euphoria. When you swim, you’re constantly stretching your muscles, which promotes relaxation and elevates your mood. Swimming also calls for deep, rhythmic breathing, very much like the kind you achieve when you meditate.
Plus, the very act of swimming is relaxing in nature. The sound and sensation of the water combined with your measured breathing lowers stress, promotes calm, and quiets the mind. All of these things help combat depression. Swimming has been shown to reverse stress-related damage to brain cells as well, so it’s a great way to unwind after work or on the weekends. Want to really maximize the meditative effects of swimming? Add your favorite music to the mix with an underwater audio device, and you’ll be in heaven.
SWIMMING CAN MAKE YOU BETTER AT OTHER ACTIVE PASTIMES.
You don’t have to be new to fitness in order to reap some serious benefits from swimming. It is a great way for dedicated athletes to become better at the sports they enjoy. It’s second to none when it comes to building endurance, developing full-body muscle structure, and improving lung capacity.
All of those advantages give you a competitive edge if you run, cycle, play football, or practice mixed martial arts. In fact, it’s not uncommon for professional or competitive athletes to add swimming to their workout routine to improve their performance.
IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL CLARITY.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking swimming’s only good for your body. If you’re interested in building a stronger mind, swimming is just what the doctor ordered for you, too. Regular exercise helps boost memory function and improve the brain’s overall ability to think, reason, and problem-solve. It also reduces insulin resistance in the brain, reduces inflammation, and encourages the growth of new brain tissue.
That will benefit people of all ages. Students perform better in school and retain what they learn more efficiently when they exercise. Older people not only stay limber and physically fit, but they’re less likely to develop dementia and other memory issues related to aging.
DEVELOP VALUABLE SOCIAL CONNECTIONS.
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with swimming by yourself, it’s also a great way to connect with other people—perfect if you want to make more friends this summer. For instance, swimming classes typically include students of all ages and from all walks of life. You’ll have the opportunity to connect and train with people who are older than you, younger than you, or who enjoy a completely different lifestyle.
Swimming is also well-known for teaching team-building skills. Swimmers who take communal classes or join the swim team learn to work alongside others to accomplish a common goal. They cheer each other on, build strategies together, and communicate effectively. Attributes like that don’t just make you a better athlete. They make you a better person, friend, and employee as well.
SWIMMING HELPS YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN SOLID VALUES.
If you have children, it only stands to reason that you hope they grow up valuing the right things. One of those things should definitely be physical fitness, especially in a day and age when childhood obesity is on the rise and sedentary lifestyles are increasingly becoming the norm.
Swimming is the ideal pastime for all children. It’s effective when it comes to building a strong mind, body, and spirit. However, it also comes attached to a fun factor that makes it hard to feel like exercise. What child doesn’t get excited about a trip to the community pool?
Swimming helps socialize children and encourages them to connect with other people in their community. Most importantly of all, it helps them build a life that would seem incomplete without some sort of physical activity as part of it.
In a nutshell, swimming is so much more than just a way to spend a Saturday or beat the summer heat. It’s also an excellent way to build lasting full-body health throughout your life. Dive in today!