Swimming is a great workout because we need to move our whole body against the resistance of the water. The water actually keeps us cool, even as our heart gets a great workout. We will probably be able to keep our self going for a longer time than if we were running. That’s because it’s fun and gentle on our joints and muscles. The water can also feel relaxing.
One of the biggest benefits of swimming is that it truly works our entire body, head to toe. Swimming:
- keeps our heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off our body
- builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness
- helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart, and lungs
- tones muscles and builds strength
- provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of our muscles are used during swimming.
There are various strokes we can use to add variety to our swimming workout, including:
Each focuses on different muscle groups, and the water provides a gentle resistance. No matter what stroke we swim, we are using most of our muscle groups to move our bodies through the water.
Other benefits of swimming –
Swimming has many other benefits including:
- being a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise
- alleviating stress
- improving coordination, balance, and posture
- improving flexibility
- providing good low-impact therapy for some injuries and conditions
- providing a pleasant way to cool down on a hot day
- being available in many places we can swim in swimming pools, beaches, lakes, dams, and rivers. Make sure that the environment we choose to swim in is safe.
If the water is warm, swimming can even have a soothing effect on achy joints and muscles. If the weather is hot, swimming can keep us cool while we burn calories, shed extra pounds, and get in shape. Swimming can be a solo or a group adventure.
Swimming is a great aerobic workout for people with most types of arthritis. It can take the load off our joints and help prevent injuries. It is also a good choice if we have low back pain. Warm water can be very soothing. Check with our doctor first if we are having joint pain, have had a recent injury, joint replacement, or are having an arthritis flare.
If any women are pregnant, the buoyancy of the water will take the stress off their joints. If they swam before they became pregnant, they will likely be able to continue swimming unless they have a problem with their pregnancy. There are just a couple of things to consider. Make sure that the water is not too hot or too cold. And if the breaststroke worsens any existing pelvic discomfort, choose another stroke and talk to their doctor.
If any people have diabetes, aerobic activity like swimming can be a very important part of their diabetes treatment plan. It will help them burn calories, lose weight, and keep their blood sugars under control. If people have high cholesterol, they will also benefit from swimming. It will help people lower their “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise your “good” HDL cholesterol.
If any people have been a couch potato, or they have heart disease or other medical problems, check with their doctor first to see what kind of swimming program is right for them. Some studies suggest that swimming may increase our risk for asthma because of the chemicals used to treat pools. Talk to our doctor about the potential risks of swimming if we have asthma, and, if possible, look for a pool that uses saltwater instead of chlorine.
Swimming may have the power to help us sleep better at night. In a study on older adults with insomnia, participants reported both a boost in quality of life and sleep after engaging in regular aerobic exercise. Nearly 50 percent of older persons experience some level of insomnia, so this is excellent news. The study focused on all types of aerobic exercise, including the elliptical, Stairmaster, bicycle, pool, and exercise videos. Swimming is accessible to a wide range of people who deal with physical issues that make other exercises, like running, less appealing. That can make swimming a good choice for older adults looking to improve their sleep.
To get started with swimming, people will first need to find a pool near them. Many gyms and community centers offer lap swimming times as well as water aerobics and aqua-jogging classes. People may want to make a list of the facilities in their area that have a pool, and visit to see which one works for their lifestyle and budget.