As is obvious, swimming is one of the best and most effective cardio exercises. It is the only exercise that benefits the entire body at a time. However, this is not the only thing to make swimming beneficial. It depends largely on the target you wish to accomplish. Swimming is counted as an activity which can be carried out all through the life to stay fit and healthy. All the efforts taken in getting into the pool are worth the health benefits obtained from the activity. However, if you don’t know swimming, you can always take swimming lessons so as to enjoy healthy swimming.
There may be numerous reasons for you to choose swimming over other workout activities. May be because of the health benefits your heart gets through this activity or you want to be with friends in pool, or maybe running is not your cup of tea, or you just feel like sliding and floating through the water. It can be anything vitiating fitness motive to beating the summer heat through a dip in the water. Furthermore swimming is one of the best recreational activities.
Health benefits of swimming
Swimming provides many health benefits to the body. Spending leisure time in a group workout, be it swim practice or water aerobics, proves to be a good social outlet. Moreover, swimming provides psychological health benefits besides benefitting the physical health.
Speaking about the most general benefits of swimming, it can be referred as a great exercise for it shows effect on the entire body without putting much strain on any of the body parts. Swimming helps increase the blood circulation from the heart to the complete body. Adding further, regular swimming in natural water shows amazing results on your skin. Moreover, the immune system also gets improved by swimming in cold water.
Some other important health benefits provided by swimming include:
Ability of doing more with less
Swimming proffers something that is not provided by any other aerobic exercise. It enables the body to perform intense workout without putting much impact on the skeletal system. On getting submerged in water, the human body becomes lighter all by itself. For example, on being immersed to the waist, the body leaves about 50% of its actual weight thus making you feel lighter. Going further, when you get into water by your chest, the remaining body weight is left to as much as 25-30%. Going even further, getting into the water till your neck leaves you with just 10% of your body while the remaining 90% is controlled entirely by the water.
This implies that the water in the pool acts as the perfect place to work on sore joints and stiff muscles, specifically for overweight and arthritis patients.
Increases toning of muscles to make them strong
I don’t remember seeing any flabby dolphin or a swimmer to look weak. The reason is that swimming works wonders in muscle toning and strengthening, specifically when contrasted to various other aerobic workouts. For instance, when a runner takes some steps while jogging, the body is moving only through the air. Conversely, a swimmer propels the body through the water which is approximately 12 times denser than air thus making every arm stroke and every kick a resistance exercise that further leads to better toning and strengthening of muscles.
Contrasted to exercise machines of a gym, which target one body part at a time, swimming lets your body go through a wide range of motions which enable the ligaments and joints to maintain their flexibility and laxity. Adding further, reaching forward with every stroke lengthens your body through stretching of every body part. Furthermore, to add to the natural flexibility of the body, the pool workout should be followed by some gentle stretches.
It is a misconception that weight reduction is difficult in water for its temperature is cooler than that of the body. Well, to add to your info, swimming has been revised to come up as one of the largest calorie burning exercises. It helps greatly to control the weight. Speaking generally about the calories burnt the breast stroke torches 60 calories, backstroke burns 80calories, freestyle helps lighten 100, and an impressive150 is intricate by the butterfly stroke.
Swimming helps in strengthening the lung capacity thus help improve your asthma symptoms. Contrasted to workouts in gym’s dry air, or challenging the frigid winter air or the seasonal allergies, swimming allows working out in moist air thus mitigating asthma symptoms induced from exercise. Besides, avoiding asthma attacks, swimming has also been found to improve the overall condition.
Being healthy relates highly to the existence of correct cholesterol ratio in your body instead of having just low amounts of the thing in the body. Explicitly, it is good to have low levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and high levels of HDL (good cholesterol). Swimming is one exercise which gets these levels in apt balance. The aerobic power increases the HDL levels. And every 1% rise in HDL reduces the risk of heart failure by 3.5%.
Adding further, it has been revealed through studies that swimming maintains the good shape of your endothelium. Endothelium is, actually, a thin layer formed by cells lining your arteries which may probably lose its flexibility with ageing. Swimming helps maintain endothelium flexibility thus keeping your arteries fit.
Reduces the risk of diabetes
When we talk of doing away with diabetes, there is nothing as wonderful as aerobic exercises. As per a study, diabetes risk was reduced by about 6% in men for every 500 calories burnt per week. Even 30 minutes of swimming thrice a week with breaststroke movement helps in exhaustion of as much as 900 calories thus mitigating the risk of type2 diabetes by about 10%. Also, for women, the same exercise done vigorously just once a week was found to reduce the same risk by 16% for inactive women.
Well, if you are already a patient of type1 diabetes, swimming can benefit you by increasing the level of insulin sensitivity. It is, however, advisable for diabetics to give 150 minutes a week, divided equally into three days a week. This swimming workout should feature moderate intensity to abet glycolic control.
Reduces stress, raises spirits, and improves brain health
An experienced swimmer feels happiest while in water. Well, the reason behind this fact is realization of endorphins, the feel good hormones, as an outcome of the swimming activity. Besides the natural high, swimming also promotes the relaxation process in a manner similar to that produced by yoga. This is probably because of constant stretching and relaxing of the muscles followed by deep rhythmic breathing. Furthermore, swimming also acts as a meditative exercise which includes your own breathing sound plus the water splash performing the function of different mantras to do away with all other distractions.
Adding even further, besides the metaphysical benefits provided by swimming, it has also been proved that swimming can bring about positive changes in the brain via a process known as hippocampal neurogenesis. This process involves the brain to replace cells damaged through stress.
Besides all the reasons mentioned above as the health benefits of swimming, the most important one includes increased life span. It’s not that a swimmer is immortal but he may live longer by avoiding premature death. Swimming is a workout that handles various health problems besides avoiding them. This reduces the risk of premature death thus making you live longer.
Boosts immune system
Adding further to health benefits provided by swimming, it can be stated that swimming in cold water boosts the immune system. It has been observed that adjusting the body to water temperature that is a little colder than comfortable helps increase the count of white blood cells in your body thus boosting the immune system as well.
Swimming is an effective way for body detoxification. Just as drinking ample water is helpful in detoxification, similarly, regular swimming performs the same function. Swimming works on skin and body cleansing thus making you looking more rejuvenated than ever before.
Wrapping up, swimming is best for those who are unable to carry out weight training and other weight loss exercises. This is due to your weight being 10times lesser in water than what it is on land. Moreover, swimming is the best exercise for pregnant women as well as those suffering from the problem of backache. Going further, it has been found that swimming can be carried out before and after an arduous floor workout, as an activity to warm up or cool down respectively.
Above all, swimming does not have any minimum or maximum age like other physical exercises. Swimming can be started at an age of 4-5 years and you can continue it till any age, as allowed by your body. It becomes even easier to start with it at a young age and continue till old age because of the fact that it reduces the risk of injuries occurring as a side effect of physical workouts. Swimming is, therefore, a low-impact and all-round body activity that targets every body part (physical as well as psychological) for the benefits proffered.