Swimming is a popular exercise for all ages and fitness levels, as it can be as easy or strenuous as you make it. Whether you’re jumping in the ocean or dipping into your at-home fitness pool, it’s a great, low-impact activity to add to your routine.
SWIMMING IS A BENEFICIAL EXERCISE BECAUSE IT:
#1 – Provides Low-Impact Cardio
Cardio is an important part of any fitness routine. As your heart rate rises during cardiovascular exercise, your body is prompted to burn more calories, energy, and fat. If you’re looking to whip your body into shape, cardio workouts are a must.
According to a comprehensive study from Duke University, when 119 sedentary participants did either weight training or cardio training for eight months, the cardio group lost significantly more weight.
Cardio also strengthens your heart, allowing it to pump blood more efficiently throughout your body. Strengthening your heart is a long-term health benefit of swimming that improves your well-being even after you get out of the pool.
That being said, though, cardio can be tough on some people. If you have a previous injury, a condition that makes running or biking difficult, or another concern that keeps you out of the gym, swimming is an ideal alternative. Rather than put pressure on your joints, swimming is low-impact and keeps that pounding off your knees, bones, and muscles. A good swim workout has the best of both worlds: the benefits of cardio with less risk of injury.
Plus, swimming may be low-impact, but it’s certainly calorie-torching. A 155-pound person, for example, may burn between 500-700 calories during an hour of freestyle swimming. The calorie scale varies depending on your weight and how fast you swim, but you can expect that regular swimming sessions will help you stay in shape.
#2 – Provides A Full Body Workout
Another reason why people pick swimming as their primary form of cardio is because it is one of the best full-body workouts. Compared to cycling or running, exercises that focus on lower body strength, swimming works your arms, shoulders, back, glutes, hamstrings, legs, and more! There’s a reason why Olympic gold medalist swimmers like Katie Ledecky are completely in shape — they thank swimming benefits for their comprehensive fitness routine.
If you’d like to focus on one area of the body, try drills that are catered to that area. For example, grab a kickboard and see how fast you can swim 100 yards with just kicking. Or, take a pull buoy and focus on your upper body for a major workout. Our Endless Pools® Fitness Systems offer various add-on accessories to enhance your workout, such as the Row Bar Kit and Swim Tether Set.
#3 – Boosts Mood and Reduces Stress
Swimming is a popular way to relax and de-stress. A UK study showed that after regularly swimming for four months, participants reported a 35% increase in positivity, a 40% increase in sleep quality, and a 51% increase in energy levels. Participants also reported an average increase of 20% in their overall well-being; this may be because swimming causes the release of serotonin, the hormone in charge of making us feel happier. This is yet another main health benefit of swimming.
In addition to biochemical changes in our brains, swimming may also help you feel better and less stressed because of its unique movement patterns. Swimming in a horizontal position releases a lot of the pressure you may accumulate in your lower back throughout the day from sitting at your desk or in your car. Many of us hold stress in our lower back and shoulders, both of which are alleviated during a swim. Also, swimming requires breathing control, forcing swimmers to take deeper breaths and get into a peaceful rhythm.
Moby Coquillard, psychotherapist and swimmer, draws a connection for us: “[Stretch and relaxation of skeletal muscles while simultaneously deep-breathing] are key elements of many practices, from hatha yoga to progressive muscle relaxation, used to evoke the relaxation response. Swimming, because of its repetitive nature, is incredibly meditative,” he said in an article for Swimmer Magazine.
#4 – Builds Endurance
Whether you use swimming as a cross-training method to prepare for another event, like a marathon, or you simply want to focus on your growth as a swimmer, you’re sure to increase your endurance and stamina with this beneficial exercise. According to Livestrong.com, regularly swimming for at least 20 minutes increases your stamina and your lungs’ ability to deliver oxygen to the rest of the body. With this increased efficiency, you will find that you can hold your breath longer, swim faster, and swim further.
Swimming can also help runners and other athletes round out their fitness. As Competitor Running magazine explains, “many of our bodies aren’t built to achieve optimal fitness through running alone. The muscle imbalances that occur over many miles only worsen with each step. Swimming introduces new ranges of motion and strengthens muscle groups that have been neglected, helping a runner avoid classic overcompensation injuries.”
#5 – Contributes to Better Sleep
A regular swimming regimen can help you sleep better at night. According to The National Sleep Foundation, those who exercise regularly, even at a light pace, are more likely to have a good night’s sleep than those who don’t. And with nearly 50% of older adults experiencing some level of insomnia, this is great news.
While almost all aerobic exercise is linked to better sleep, swimming is especially therapeutic because it encourages free-floating movements and meditation-like breathing. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that you can save some time in the morning by having an Endless Pool® right in your backyard instead of trekking to the gym!
It’s safe to say that the health benefits of swimming, both physical and psychological, prove it is much more than just a leisurely activity or hobby. Find out more about how you can benefit from having an in-home Fitness System by locating an Endless Pools® Fitness Systems dealer near you today!