Swimming is regarded as one of the most beneficial exercises you can do to help maintain a healthy weight, keep your blood pressure low and heart rate stable. Hitting the pool for a few laps offers an endless list of benefits – not just physically but also, mentally.
The beauty of this super sport is that you don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of swimming. Just doing a few good laps a day can help to boost your metabolism that little bit and get your body moving.
Here are five ways you can benefit from jumping in the water today.
5 benefits of swimming
#1 – Toned muscles.
Have you ever seen a competitive swimmer with a weak physique? We didn’t think so. This is because swimming is one of the best ways to increase muscle strength and build muscle tone. In fact, swimming is a far more effective way of building toned muscles than any other form of cardiovascular sport or exercise that you do on dry land. This is simply because water is TWELVE times as dense as air, so when you jump into the water and start swimming you will be working towards a certain amount of water resistance. The resistance you feel in the swimming pool can be compared to using a lighter weight in the gym, but the submersion of your body in the water helps to create a more even and controlled resistance for the body.
#2 – Improved flexibility.
One of the main benefits of swimming is an increase in flexibility. When you exercise in a gym using weight machines you tend to isolate one area of the body (for example, the leg press), but when you swim you put your body through a range of different motions that help both the joints and the ligaments to become more flexible and loose.
Think about it this way – as you reach forward with every stroke you are lengthening your body, which gives you a good overall body stretch. You can improve your flexibility even more when swimming by finishing off your swim with some gentle stretches in the water.
#3 – Reduce stress and increase mental capability.
If you have ever swum before you will have noticed a boost in endorphins, which helps your body increase feelings of wellbeing. Studies have shown that one of the main benefits of swimming is that this sport produces the same relaxation response as yoga. When you swim, this relaxation response can be heightened due to the stretching and contracting of the muscles.
#4 – Weight control.
Obviously any sort of exercise that increases your heart rate is going to help with weight loss, but swimming is now considered one of the biggest calorie burners around. This means that doing a few laps each day is great for keeping your weight under control. The intensity of the calorie burn will be different depending on the type of workout that you are doing. So, for more of a burn include some high-intensity sessions. For example, work your hardest for short bursts and then take a slow recovery lap or two; or even rest for a minute.
A general rule of thumb for every ten minutes of swimming – breaststroke will burn 60 calories, backstroke lights up 80, freestyle torches up to 100 and the butterfly burns an impressive 150 calories in that short period of time.
#5 – Improves your breathing technique.
When you swim you will spend a significant time with your head under the water, so it is important to learn how to breathe to conserve your energy, which can aid you with running and weight lifting. But this isn’t the one of the main benefits of swimming and breathing. Swimming has actually been shown to vastly improve asthma symptoms – even a whole year after your swimming sessions stop. This is because there is more moisture present when you swim than you will experience at a gym. The moisture in the air makes it easier to breath, which is perfect for people with asthma who find running outside too hard for their lungs.
The benefits of swimming are endless but it is up to you to dive into the water now and reap them.