The terrific thing about swimming is that it is an activity almost everyone can participate in and enjoy at any age – from the novice to the hard training competitor. Most of us have done it our entire lives.
It is not only a great exercise but it is a life skill that could save your life and help you save others.
But it is the exercise element we are interested in here…RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
You don’t have to swim lap after lap to reap the benefits. Merely getting in a pool and walking or treading water is great cardiovascular exercise.
For people who are unable to float on their own or who are afraid of getting in the water, there is a variety of flotation devices to assist movement and provide comfort and security.
Aqua Aerobics classes are still popular, and now there are Yoga and Pilates (Poolates) classes too.
Long term benefits of swimming
Similar to all types of exercises, swimming is an excellent aerobic workout for your heart and lungs and thus improves bad cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar and reduces blood pressure – things that are important for a healthy lifestyle and longevity.
The butterfly, freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke are all excellent choices.
Reduce impact on joints
Swimming is a low impact workout so it is easy on the joints and may improve joint mobility, which makes it an excellent choice for people with physical limitations, arthritis, joint replacement, degenerative or chronic health issues and pregnant women.
Swimming and water exercises are often part of injury recovery and physical therapy regimes.
Compared to other sports, swimming is inexpensive since little equipment is needed and most community pools offer sessions for a minimal fee.
In addition, the time of day or year are not limiting factors to participation since most indoor pools have a constant and consistent environment and water temperature.
Therefore, swimming can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Swimming burns a lot of calories and depending on the stroke can burn off more than 600 calories per hour making it a super choice for weight loss or improving muscle mass and lowering body fat levels.
There are plenty of websites that can help you calculate the calories you burn taking into consideration factors such as weight, stroke, time and distance.
Full body workout
If you want a workout that targets the entire body, then swimming is the perfect choice.
Every stroke uses the large muscles in the arms, legs, back, and shoulders as well as many small muscles.
Moreover, swimming significantly improves core strength, flexibility, posture, stability, coordination, balance, endurance, and muscle strength.
This is not only important for every day healthy living but also critical to healthy aging.
For senior citizens and children with special needs, swimming as well as water games and activities are safe, fun, helps build confidence, is a non-competitive activity, provides critical socialization, improves body image, and teaches water-survival skills.
Swimming is also great for the mind
Swimming is energizing but also meditative, relaxing, and has a positive effect on all aspects of healthy living.
The repetitive nature of the movements calms the spirit as the water creates a soothing non-jarring and peaceful surrounding leading to less stress and may just help us feel youthful and childlike again.
The training and skills learned in swimming, including water survival skills enhances and improves focus in other sports in general and in and out of the water.
Sports such as kayaking, canoeing, surfing, scuba diving, sailing, water skiing, power boating and the newest craze – stand up paddle boarding – all benefit from you being confident about how you would handle an emergency situation and could be vital to you avoiding a life threatening disaster.
If you are contemplating starting a swimming program, consider joining a swim group in your area and enlist the help of a swim coach to fine tune your strokes and teach you proper breathing techniques.
Take your time and set up a schedule that you can easily follow and maintain.