Do you swim regularly? If you’re not yet swimming laps for exercise, check out these 5 healthy reasons why you should add swimming to your fitness routine.
I have been in love with the pool since I was a youngster splashing my friends and playing Marco Polo. Recently I’ve decided to add swimming to my workout routine, and it’s going well. I don’t have a lot of endurance yet, but I’m making progress.
Here are 5 health benefits I have found from swimming.
- A whole body workout.
I had always heard that swimming helped a person tone their whole body, and then I watched the Olympics several years ago, in awe at the feats of Michael Phelps. It really brought home for me what a wonderful workout option the pool could provide, and firmed up my resolve to give it a try. As the Mom of two kids, I’ll never have the time to get in shape like Michael, but seeing him swim gave me motivation.
- Great for the heart.
I’d always heard that swimming was a great workout for the heart, and then I found out why. A person’s heart rate will be significantly lower – up to 13 percent fewer heart beats per minute, just being in the water. It is thought that this is due to the lessened effect of gravity, and lower water temperature. That all makes sense, but what it meant for me was that I could have a bonus for swimming that I couldn’t get on the treadmill. I’ve never had heart trouble, but anything that keeps my heart in good shape is always a plus.
- Lower risk of injury.
I started investigating the pool after I hurt my knee while running. Years of pounding the running trail had taken their toll, and I felt it was time for a change. With the buoyancy of the water, my body only has to support a fraction of its own weight. I love the feeling of lightness I get when I’m in the pool. When I swim, it’s also low impact – my feet aren’t landing on a treadmill or a trail, so it’s much easier on my knees. Instead, there’s a feeling of my joints limbering up as they glide gently through the water, and I like that.
- Reduction of stress.
I have a hectic schedule each week, and sometimes need a break to unwind. When I get in the pool and glide along down a lap lane, the only sounds I hear are the gentle lapping of the water, and my breathing. It is very soothing, and I’ve come to look forward to my time in the pool as a way to refresh my soul. I’ve heard it said that our bodies are 60 percent water, and that’s why being in the water feels so natural. When I finish my workout (a lot sooner than Michael Phelps would finish his, of course) I feel a lot more relaxed, and can’t remember what was stressing me before I began the swim.
- Resistance builds strength.
Water is a dense medium, which adds an extra work component when you swim. It takes extra effort to push yourself through the water, which just helps in building muscles and endurance. Moving through the water is also one of the best cardiovascular workouts you can get, which lowers blood pressure and helps your body pump blood more efficiently. All my muscle groups get a workout during a swim – believe me, after I get out of the water, I can tell that this is true.
I feel stronger with each swim, and that’s a big reason I continue heading to the gym.
Here are some great resources I found that tell more about the health benefits of swimming:
Written by Kaitlin Gardner. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.
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